Dover Town Board host meeting on proposed power plant
July 15, 2011
The Town Board of the Town of Dover hosted a public comment session on Saturday, July 9, soliciting feedback on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Cricket Valley Energy’s proposed combined-cycle power plant.
The meeting was held at Dover Town Hall about concerns for the proposed power plant which is planned to be developed at an inactive industrial site off Route 22 in Dover approximately x miles north of the Pawling Town Line.
The DEIS public comment provided the public with an additional opportunity to comment on the DEIS, Cricket Valley Energy’s air and wetlands permit applications, and draft permits. The public comment session was scheduled at the request of the Dover Town Board.
The major topics brought to discussion at the meeting were about possible issues with air quality, noise pollution and water contamination as a result of the construction and operation of the power plant.
There was a huge turnout for the meeting and people from all across southeastern Dutchess County raised their concerns and praises for the proposed power plant. Everyone was given a chance to speak at the meeting and comments ranged anywhere from short general comments to longer written out and researched statements that discussed multiple topics.
All comments were presented to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), which is the lead agency for the proposed project.
The Dover Town Board is an involved agency in the State Environmental Quality Review process. As an involved agency, the Town of Dover will make its own determination of the potential impacts related to the special permit for the proposed power plant.
Dover Town Councilman Christopher Galayda stated at the meeting that the Town of Dover desired to be the lead agency in the determination of the proposed power plant. “We wanted to be the lead agency because we feel we know best what the town wants and we can address concerns the people of our community have the very best,” Galayda said at the meeting. However, they were overruled by the DEC on appeal.
Galayda also added that there needs to be more research done on the possible effects of the power plant because all the information presented to the public is information that Cricket Valley Energy has done on their own. Many people at the meeting felt as if it would be very useful to hire an independent consultant to evaluate the possible risks for the proposed power plant in order to help make a more informed decision on it.
Noise was a big concern at the meeting and many people questioned whether Cricket Valley Energy would be able to meet the Town of Dover’s noise ordinance of 50 decibels. Cricket Valley Energy states that they will be able abide by this, but many people at the meeting questioned them and asked for some kind of proof.
Another concern brought up at the meeting was that the proposed location for the power plant is approximately one mile north from the Dover Middle and High School. Dover School District Superintendent Craig Onofry has already requested that the Dover School Board be added to the list of interested parties for the environmental review of the power plant.
Some people at the meeting felt as if Cricket Valley Energy was not doing a good enough job of informing residents about their proposed facility. A few people stated that they did not hear about the proposed power plant until two weeks ago. Others at the meeting felt as if Cricket Valley Energy has been doing a very good job of informing the public about their proposed facility. Cricket Valley has put out four newsletters and ran workshops concerning issues involving topics such as traffic, safety, air quality and others.
The power plant would add at least 750 construction jobs at the height of the 2 to 3-year construction project, with annual salaries totaling nearly $50 million, according to Cricket Valley Energy. It would also include 25 to 30 highly skilled permanent employees when the plant is operational, with salaries totaling more than $2 million annually.
The power plant is said to add significant tax revenue to the Dover school system, town and Dutchess County, according to Cricket Valley Energy. The project’s annual tax contribution could be up to $4 million.
by Steven Joao