The Danskammer coal plant in the Mid-Hudson Valley will be retired and torn down following its sale from Dynegy Inc. to ICS NY Holdings. The plant was purchased for just $3.5 million through a proceeding with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
“This is great news for families in New York who can now breathe easier without more pollution from the Danskammer coal plant. Now it’s up to ICS NY Holdings to ensure a responsible transition for the workers and community, including working with the union for a fair deal and conducting a safe and healthy clean-up of the site,” said Bruce Nilles, Senior Campaign Director for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign.
The plant was riddled with problems including a recent lawsuit over regional haze pollution filed by Earthjustice on behalf of the Sierra Club and National Parks Conservation Association, the release of modeling showing how the plant contributed to violations of federal air quality standards for sulfur dioxide, workers on strike and recent flooding damage from Superstorm Sandy.
“This helps bring New York energy generation into the 21st century,” said Charles McPhedran, an attorney with Earthjustice. “Air pollution from aging coal plants makes people sick. This closure helps clear the air, and will open the door to cleaner energy for New York’s future.”
Following this announcement there are only four remaining polluting coal plants operating in New York - Somerset, Huntley and Dunkirk in Western New York and Cayuga near Ithaca. Both Somerset and Cayuga are similarly bankrupt and all four continue to threaten the health of New Yorkers.
“This should be a signal that it’s time to move New York beyond coal and plan for a cleaner energy future. Investing instead in renewable energy like wind and solar will mean healthier air, good jobs and reducing our dependence on dirty energy that causes climate disruption and extreme weather events like the devastating Superstorm Sandy,” said Lisa Dix, Senior New York Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club.
“We are witnessing the beginning of the end of New York’s reliance on coal. It also means that the citizens in New York and beyond will breathe cleaner air and the energy we use will generate less carbon pollution. Today’s announcement is one more indication that the Beyond Coal Campaign is working,” said Peggy Duxbury, an adviser at Bloomberg Philanthropies which has contributed $50 million to the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign.
Coal plants are major sources of toxic air pollution like mercury, soot and smog and contribute to climate disruption. This marks the 126th coal plant to commit to retire since 2010 when the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign began work to responsibly retire the nation’s coal-fired power plants and transition to clean energy.