A coalition of environmental groups are asking New York regulators to restart the hearing process for a Tompkins County coal plant looking to re-fire its plant with natural gas.
In a motion filed with the state Public Service Commission, the organizations—including Earthjustice and the Sierra Club—asked for an immediate pause in the proceedings regarding the Cayuga Power Plant in the town of Lansing. Last week, the commission ordered the plant’s owners and New York State Electric & Gas to put together a joint proposal to re-power the plant and upgrade transmission lines, a move that took place after a round of public comments and contentious hearings were in the books.
In its filing, the environmental groups knocked the PSC for a decision-making process that has left the public “completely in the dark as to the facts underlying the determinations of what will purportedly be in their ‘best interests.’”
“It is respectfully submitted that the parties to this proceeding and the public deserve—and are legally entitled to—a more open and accessible decision-making process on issues that have such profound rate and environmental implications for the people of New York,” the motion reads.
Specifically, the groups claim the PSC’s most recent order contains “no findings of fact or conclusions of law” that explain why re-powering the plant is in the public’s best interest.
The PSC’s order requires NYSEG and the Cayuga Operating Company to put together a joint proposal by late October.
The Lansing plant is one of two coal plants in New York awaiting a decision from the PSC on whether it can make the switch to natural gas. In August, Gannett’s Albany Bureau took a look at the economic challenges facing coal plants, which are facing near-extinction in New York as the price of natural gas remains low.