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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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Gov. Whitmer endorses Kamala Harris for president, says she's not leaving Michigan; Grilled by lawmakers on the Trump assassination attempt, Secret Service director says, 'We failed;' Teachers rally at national convention in Houston; Opioid settlement fund fuels anti-addiction battle in Indiana; Nonprofit agency says corporate donations keep programs going.

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Democrats consolidate support behind Vice President Harris, Republicans threaten legal action over changes to the presidential ticket, and a possible bipartisan consensus forms on the failure of the Secret Service to protect former President Trump.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Danskammer Energy withdraws Newburgh power plant application

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Thursday, June 20, 2024   

Danskammer Energy is no longer seeking an expansion of its Newburgh plant.

The original plan called for expanding the company's "peaker plant" meant to handle times of peak electricity, to a baseload plant providing power throughout the year.

New York state's Department of Environmental Conservation denied the air permits and the project faced legal setbacks. Residents and environmental groups overwhelmingly opposed the plant at several public meetings.

Stephen Ballentine, director of environmental advocacy, government relations and public policy for the nonprofit Scenic Hudson, said residents would have faced severe effects.

"It would have been terrible for the people who live in the community around Danskammer, who would have had to deal with not just increased climate emissions," Ballentine pointed out. "But more directly impactful to them, they would have had to deal with particulate pollution that caused major public health problems."

The plant would have generated almost 2 million tons of carbon yearly and added pollution for the Hudson Valley. Ballentine argued the plant would likely become a stranded asset if it kept operating after 2040 because of the goals outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which established New York's climate goals.

States such as Virginia have gas-powered plants barrel ahead despite established climate goals. Ballentine stressed Danskammer's plant sets a precedent for other companies bringing similar projects forward.

"If a company tries to build a fossil-fuel generation power plant, DEC is going to consider whether or not that plant complies with the climate goals in the state's climate act," Ballentine pointed out. "It will reject applications when they are inconsistent with those goals."

While it is uncertain if the plant was needed for energy generation, he feels renewable energy is New York's only path forward. Scenic Hudson and PennPraxis at the University of Pennsylvania's Weitzman School of Design collaborated to show how renewable alternatives such as battery storage could work better than a fossil fuel plant.


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