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Reject Caithness Long Island II and Revoke all Special Permits for Construction

This petition had 1,157 supporters

Caithness Long Island intends to construct a 750 MWh dual cycle fossil fuel power plant on an 84-acre parcel in Yaphank, NY.  On this same property exists an already functioning 350 MWh dual cycle plant, Caithness I; together, Caithness I and II will generate 1GW of power and the compound effects of its emissions will further depreciate the air quality in the local area.  Yet, these compounded effects were not analyzed prior to the Brookhaven Town Board's approval of the project, despite the fact that the American Lung Association just gave Suffolk County another "F" for its air quality; more importantly, the incidence of asthma and other respiratory related emergencies is much higher in the area immediately surrounding Caithness I than in other local areas; building Caithness II in the same neighborhood will only heighten this statistic.

Caithness II will exceed EPA threshholds for Ozone and Nitrous Oxide, as will it release hazardous compounds, such as radon, formaldehyde, sulfuric acid, toluene, naphthalene, and other carcinogens into our atmosphere.   

Additionally, The property is located 1.3 miles away from Long Island’s only “National and Scenic Wild River,” likely over a zone III "Deep Recharge Basin," the source of our drinking water.  The environmental review included NO SCIENTIFIC study to determine the Hydrogeological Zone over which this property rests, despite the fact that Caithness I has had three minor spills in the last two years.  It also failed to properly account for the various endangered and threatened species living in the area, such as Northern Long Eared Bats and Bald Eagles.

Finally, public outreach programs were almost exclusively limited to residents living in the Longwood School District, despite this being a project that affects all Long Island residents; for instance, it is expected that this project will raise Long Islanders' utility bills by 5-10%. 

Caithness II will cost at LEAST $3 billion dollars of ratepayer money, and this cost does not include the cost of building a required natural gas supply pipeline from Connecticut to Yaphank, a pipeline whose costs and environmental impact have yet to be reviewed.  It is expected, however, that this pipeline will run through 55 acres of Core Pine Barrens, the headwaters of the Peconic River, and through the Carmans River.  It will also result in the use of eminent domain, since it will run through residential properties along William Floyd Parkway.  

Many Long Islanders believe that, as a result, the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process was very much arbitrary and capricious, that they seem to be an abuse of discretion, and that significant environmental impacts were not subjected to "a hard look," despite being required to do so by law.

Sadly, throughout the process, there has been no demonstrated "need" to actually build this power plant; PSEG's recent report substantiates this, as does Albany's Reforming the Energy Vision initiative.  First, when it comes to grid reliability, it's been proven that centralized fossil fuel infrastructure is still vulnerable to terrorist hacks and to storm outages.  Therefore, Caithness II would not help make Long Island's grid any more secure.  Instead, Long Island should be creating a more resilient grid through accessing shared renewables and microgrids, as outlined in REV.  In addition, Long Island already has a committed capacity surplus of 56% more electricity than it regularly uses, a result of overbuilding a centralized grid to meet summer super peak demand.  But summer super peak only lasts for about 100 hours each year; instead of building another power plant to meet these 100 hours of summer peak, this demand could be reduced through distributed energy resources, such as rooftop solar and battery storage.  Therefore, Caithness II's enormous costs and overcapacity will continue to keep our grid vulnerable to outages and eradicate any future meaningful need to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy, a result that will impact Long Island for the next 20 years....all when there has been no demonstrated need to do so in the first place.

For these reasons, we ask the Governor of New York State, the NYS Public Service Commission, the LIPA Board, and the Town of Brookhaven to do what is within their means to stop Caithness Long Island from constructing this unneeded fossil fuel plant.   Please reject their petition for a "Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity and Establishing Lightened Regulatory Regime," reject entering into contract with them, and please revoke the special permits you've provided, since now it is known that this power plant is not needed.

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