Power plant bid fizzles

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TransGas Energy Systems lost its appeal to construct an underground 1,100-megawatt (MW) power plant on an eight-acre site off Kent Avenue and North 12th Street last week, further paving the way for an unobstructed network of parkland along the Greenpoint-Williamsburg waterfront.

On September 22, The New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division voted unanimously in favor of the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and Environment and its respondents, dismissing TransGas’ appeal.

“Since the proposed power plant could not be built without laying pipes under the city’s public property, and because TransGas has refused to seek revocable consents from the city to do so, the Board’s dismissal of TransGas’ application was not arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion,” said the Appellate Court in its ruling.

The Siting Board, with several city agencies and North Brooklyn residents represented by Borough President Marty Markowitz’ office, have opposed construction of the plant since 2002, when TransGas first submitted an application to the Siting Board to obtain a certificate of environmental compatibility for the waterfront site.

Borough President Marty Markowitz lauded the decision, saying it was “welcome news for members of the community and all Brooklynites who cherish our beloved waterfront and its iconic views.”

“We need to now move ahead and build the much-needed Bushwick Inlet Park, which will provide beautiful green space and access to the waterfront in Northern Brooklyn.There’s been an awful lot that has been promised that has not been delivered that should have been,” said Markowitz.

TransGas has the option of continuing the case by submitting an appeal tothe state’s Court of Appeals, though attorneys and legislators familiar with the case believe that it will be very difficult for the company to get their case heard before the court.

“If this were a case, involving some intricate point of law, the Court might take it, but theCourt of Appeals doesn’t take every case,” said Assemblymember Joseph Lentol (D-Williamsburg). who opposes construction of the power plant.“It requires confusion, among all courts of the state over what the law is, on a particular issue, and there is already precedent in the law.”

At this time, it is unclear whether TGE will continue their appeals.When reached in their Williamsburg headquarters, a spokesperson for TransGas referred all comments to their attorney, John Dax, who was unable to return calls by press time.

Adam Perlmutter, a Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks and Planning leader, believes an appeal is unlikely to succeed and argues that the ultimate determining factor of the Siting Board’s position was due to the possibility of future residential development near the site.

“The decision rests on the City not giving TGE the right to use its streets and land for the plant infrastruc­ture,” said Perlmutter.“In the end of the day, controversial as it may be, the rezoning laid the foundation for stopping the project.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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