Sierra Club files appeal of Kocher’s Greenidge decision

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
Greenidge Power Station on Seneca Lake.

The Sierra Club, the Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes (CPFL) and the Coalition to Protect New York filed a notice of appeal last week in their case they say challenged the lack of an adequate environmental review of the Greenidge Generating Station repowering project near Dresden.

The group is challenging the June order and judgment issued by Judge William Kocher in the case of Sierra Club v. NYS DEC, Yates County Supreme Court. It will be heard by the Appellate Division, Fourth Dept. in Rochester.

Kocher’s order granted the motions to dismiss brought in the case by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Greenidge respondents.

“Judge Kocher’s order failed to address our claims regarding the deficiencies in DEC’s determination that there are no significant environmental impacts from repowering the Greenidge Station.  We don’t think it was proper to dismiss the petition without consideration of our claims.” said Peter Gamba, President of CPFL.

Michael McKeon, spokesperson for Greenidge Generation, provided a comment: “The permits and approvals we were required to secure were and are uniquely strong; they facilitated our conversion to natural gas as our primary fuel and they will fully protect the region’s air and water. We must and will meet federal air emission standards and stringent requirements for the protection of fish and shellfish in Seneca Lake, including the installation of variable speed capabilities and mesh screens. We are proud of our investment that brought this plant back into operation and that economic growth we’re supporting.  Contrary to the rhetoric being shared by a select few, Greenidge is now, in many ways, the environmental permitting benchmark by which other similar facilities will be measured. We’re very pleased to once again a key part of the Upstate New York power market.  This appeal is simply more of the same from groups that would prefer to hear themselves talk than hear the facts.”

“We have good arguments that DEC did not adequately review the impacts of the Greenidge operations and that appropriate protections need to be put in place to protect the Keuka Outlet and Seneca Lake,” said Kate Bartholomew, Conservation Chair of the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter.  “DEC needs to conduct a full environmental assessment of the impacts of the plant’s air discharges on Seneca Lake and the Finger Lakes region, the plant’s huge water withdrawals and water discharges on Seneca Lake’s fish, wildlife and water quality, and the impacts on Seneca Lake and local groundwater supplies of leachate leaking from the Lockwood coal ash landfill adjacent to the plant,” Bartholomew said.

Copies of the court filings and other related docuements are available at: