To halt the operation of the Cricket Valley Energy Center (CVE) fracked-gas power plant, now on-line as of April 2020. This can be done. New York is the state that banned fracking after overwhelming citizen opposition. More than 2,000 local concerned citizens have so far petitioned Governor Andrew Cuomo to deny CVE’s operating permit. They’ve demanded that serious deficiencies in CVE’s environmental impact study be remedied. We need to stop CVE and every plant like it.
New York State has shown that it’s still serious about the environment with the passage of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act last June. This legislation is one of the most ambitious in the world, but opening up a new fracked-gas electricity plant is a giant step in the wrong direction—especially now that a cheaper, completely nonpolluting, non-greenhouse-gas-emitting path has emerged. Eliminating fossil-fuels is the only path that can save us from irreversible climate catastrophe.
What is Cricket Valley Energy?
Cricket Valley Energy is one of the largest natural-gas power plants in the North East. It will burn fracked natural gas (methane) piped in via the Iroquois pipeline to produce 1,100 megawatts of electric power. CVE will pump at least 6 million tons of greenhouse gasses and thousands of tons of other toxic pollutants into the air each year. According to CVE’s own documents, the plant will emit over 279 tons of nitrogen oxides, 570 tons of carbon monoxide, and more than 60 tons of sulfuric acid and its precursors. All of this pollution will disburse throughout the Harlem and Hudson Valleys upon the prevailing winds, then spill over into neighboring Connecticut.
Effects on Human Health
The combined millions of tons of toxic pollutants from CVE’s gas turbines and will seriously degrade our air quality.
The pollutants most dangerous to human health produced by CVE are nitrogen oxides, which form smog and very small particles, categorized by scientists as PM10 and PM2.5. Smog, says Wikipedia, “can inflame breathing passages, decrease the lungs’ working capacity, cause shortness of breath, pain when inhaling deeply, wheezing, and coughing. It can cause eye and nose irritation and it dries out the protective membranes of the nose and throat and interferes with the body’s ability to fight infection, increasing susceptibility to illness.” PM10/PM2.5 particles are so small that they overwhelm the body’s natural ability to trap and expel them before they reach the lungs. They remain lodged in lung tissue, and peer reviewed studies have proven that they increase the risk of premature death. The risk is particularly high for those with other respiratory illnesses, for example, a Harvard university study found “an increase of only 1μg/m3 in PM2.5 is associated with a 15 per cent increase in the Covid-19 death rate”. Cricket Valley Energy is permitted to emit 192 tons per year of PM2.5, and an additional 192 tons per year of PM10.
Impacts to human health from CVE’s exhaust are likely to include:
- Birth defects and low birth weight
- Respiratory and other cancers
- Asthma, COPD and other respiratory and cardiac diseases.
- Increased risk of stroke and premature dementia.
- Increased death rates in those suffering from lung disease, including COVID-19.
Climate Emergency and Greenhouse Gases
Despite what CVE says about being technologically advanced—it is, just not nearly enough—it will still discharge methane, also known as natural gas. An extremely destructive greenhouse pollutant, methane traps 86 times more heat in the earth’s atmosphere over 20 years as compared to carbon dioxide. When natural gas is pumped at high pressure from its source, some of the raw gas inevitably escapes along the way, chiefly from pipeline joints and pumping operations. It also escapes from the plant, before burning and during, because combustion is almost never 100-percent complete. All this methane, combined with CVE’s millions of tons per year of CO2 and the hundreds of tons of nitrogen oxides from normal plant operations, will make CVE one of New York State’s major contributors to the global climate emergency.
New Yorkers and other concerned citizens realize that we can’t solve our health and climate crises’ by switching from one fossil fuel to another. We need a statewide and national commitment to replace fossil fuel infrastructure, including CVE with zero-carbon technologies. Let our Governor and elected officials know that we want them to DO MORE TO AVERT CLIMATE CATASTROPHE. Starting NOW.