Several demonstrations have taken place at the construction site for Competitive Power Ventures’ natural gas-fired power plant on Route 6 in Wawayanda. ERIK GLIEDMAN/THE TIMES HERALD-RECORD
WAWAYANDA — Warning of the potential of “eco-terrorism,” attorneys for Competitive Power Ventures’ Valley Energy Center are asking that structural plans for its natural gas-fired power plant be kept secret because opponents could use them “to plan attacks at the site.”
In a letter last month to the state Public Service Commission, Ruth Leistensnider, a partner at the Albany law firm Nixon Peabody, asks that drawings for the $900 million power plant being built in Wawayanda be treated as confidential because of ongoing opposition to the project. Normally the drawings would be public via the state Freedom of Information Law.
Leistensnider cites weekly protests that have occurred near the site and the December arrests of six people who tried to block the construction entrance. Those arrested included actor James Cromwell.
“Other projects in New York (and elsewhere) involving natural gas infrastructure have been the subject of similar protests, acts of civil disobedience and potentially, eco-terrorism,” Leistensnider writes.”These drawings, if disclosed, could be used by project opponents to plan attacks at the site, which could endanger the safety of construction personnel and others in the vicinity of the site.”
Pramilla Malick, another of those arrested in December, said the plant’s opponents are entirely peaceful. She said the reason CPV doesn’t want to share its plans is because they differ from what’s previously been submitted.
“We’re just mothers and concerned citizens,” Malick said. “They don’t want public scrutiny on these documents.”
The plant, which is under construction on Route 6, has been the target of protesters who maintain it will emit toxins, cause cancer and asthma and lower property values. They say it might affect threatened species like the bog turtle and the northern long-eared bat as well.
Whether the PSC will answer the letter, dated April 25, is unclear. Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week instructed his administration to halt regulatory communication with CPV because of an ongoing federal probe into one of Cuomo’s former top aides, Joseph Percoco.
According to news reports, Percoco’s wife, Lisa Toscano-Percoco, received income from Chris Pitts LLC, a mysterious company with alleged tied to CPV.