Lawsuit had challenged state environmental permits issued for the power plant.
Acting Supreme Court Justice William Kocher has ruled in favor of Greenidge Generation in a lawsuit that had been brought against the power plant by a group of organizations that alleged violations of Environmental Conservation Law.
Kocher's decision, handed down Nov. 8, dismissed the lawsuit in its entirety.
A statement released Nov. 14 by Greenidge Generation noted that Kocher ruled that the restart of the Yates County-based natural gas and biomass-powered plant adhered to all state and federal environmental laws, rules and regulations.
“From the very beginning of this process, we consistently pledged to meet all state and federal requirements and the highest of environmental standards in bringing this facility back online. In every way, as the court has ruled today, that commitment has been fulfilled. In the process, we have brought good-paying jobs back to the region and important new tax revenue back to our village, town, and county," said the statement.
Company officials say the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the United States Environmental Protection Agency approved all required permits for Greenidge.
The petitioners, Sierra Club, Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes, Seneca Lake Guardian, and individuals, said Greenidge received a Water Withdrawal Permit in 2017 that was issued in error. They said the company should have applied for a new withdrawal rather than be treated as an existing user, and that the DEC did not conduct a complete environmental review.
The power plant, which has been converted to natural gas generation, previously burned coal, and it has withdrawn water from Seneca Lake for cooling since its construction in the late 1930s. That water is then discharged into the Keuka Outlet upstream from Seneca Lake. The power plant was shut down in 2011, and was nearly dismantled for scrap before it was purchased by Atlas Holdings and converted to burn natural gas. A water withdrawal permit which authorizes the withdrawal of 139,248,000 gallons of water per day from Seneca Lake and the discharge of 134,000,000 gallons into the Keuka Outlet, was issued Sept. 11, 2017.
"It is clear that the permit application underwent a full technical review resulting in a renewal of the permit with additional conditions imposed," wrote Kocher.
The company's statement continues: "Dedicated regulators at both agencies spent years reviewing this matter, answering every public comment and considering every legal argument presented. Despite this, a small but vocal group of opponents have made a series of absurd claims driven solely by politics, not by the law and certainly not by the facts.
"The court’s decision rendered today an unequivocal verdict on those baseless claims;
they were soundly rejected. The result is a facility that meets the most stringent state and federal environmental standards of any plant its kind in the nation. Any claim to the contrary would be false, and we are confident that any future attempt to use the courts to play politics will meet a similar fate.”