ALBANY – Senator Catherine Young (R-Olean) is sounding off against the Sierra Club, saying recent statements by the conservation and environmental group are undermining the effort to re-open the NRG power plant in Dunkirk.
In a March article in Buffalo’s Business First newspaper, Sierra Club representatives are quoted as saying that a modification to the NRG Plant, changing it from a coal burning facility to a natural gas burning one, would still have a negative impact on the environment. As a result, the group says the plant should not be retrofitted to burn natural gas but should instead be permanently closed. Also, in a joint press release with the Business Council sent out earlier this week, the organizations made similar statements about the Dunkirk plant, in addition to another power plant in Cayuga, owned by Upstate Power.
Senator Young says she and her colleagues are shocked and disappointed by the statements, calling it an uninformed stance and a direct attack on the communities, the workers at those facilities, and the Central and Western New York economy.
Young added that the Business Council’s out of touch, anti-jobs position on this issue and its collaboration with the Sierra Club is an affront to common sense and the antithesis of that organization’s stated mission. She also accused the Sierra Club as being one of the groups which, on a regular basis, works to kill job opportunities and a hopeful future for upstate New York.
Young and Assemblyman Andy Goodell (R-Chautauqua) are leading the effort in Albany to request that the Public Service Commission to allow NRG and Upstate Power to invest over $1 billion combined in local communities by constructing state-of-the-art, combined cycle natural gas plants. According to Young, the plants will create more than 1,000 construction jobs and maintain good-paying union jobs, while protecting millions of dollars that are badly needed by local communities and schools.
NRG is the largest tax contributor in Chautauqua County. The coal-burning power plant was mothballed last year and officials have since been working to re-open it as a natural gas power plant.