AREA OFFICIALS JOIN PROTESTERS IN ASKING THAT CPV PERMITS BE REVOKED
Rain or Shine, residents from all over Orange County have been making it clear that they think the CPV Power Plant is wrong for the county on multiple levels. Their cause got a leg up this week when corruption charges put the plant’s approval process into even further question. Along with 2 indictments on corruption charges, residents in the area of Minisink have complained that with the State of New York taking a firm stand against fracking for gas, it does not make sense to let Pennsylvania pass the potential environmental burden to New York by allowing the fracking to continue in PA and send the fracked gas lines running through New York State. Further emboldening the protesters, while court processes play out, the plant’s owners were allowed to start up the system with diesel fuel that has been filling the skies with plumes that they say have irritated their lungs and eyes, and possibly caused respiratory illness. The controversy will continue to play out in the courts, and the protesters will likely continue to appear weekly at the site.
County Executive Neuhaus Issues Statement On Percoco Conviction
Goshen, N.Y. – Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus released the following statement on Tuesday after Joseph Percoco was convicted of three felony charges in connection with accepting more than $300,000 in payments from companies in business with New York State, including the Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) power plant.
“The State should revoke any and all permits granted to CPV,” Neuhaus said. “You cannot act illegally in the permit approval process and then keep the permits. When the arrests happened, I called upon the State to review all of the permits that were issued. Now that a conviction has been handed down, State officials must do more. They should introduce and pass legislation creating a presumption of invalidity for any project in which criminal conduct by public officials occurred and for which permits were issued.”
Added Neuhaus: “The legislation should be retroactive to the CPV applications. Permits must be based on honest conduct and a jury has now found that this project (CPV) was tainted by dishonesty. People can disagree over many issues related to development. However, criminal conduct must mandate a higher standard of review.”
Percoco was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and one count of solicitation of gratuities in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. He was accused of accepting $315,000 in payments from CPV and Cor Development, businesses that requested Percoco, a former top aide to the Governor, to take state actions that benefited their various projects.
Skoufis Calls on Governor to Withdraw CPV Permits, Initiate Investigation
“Today’s conviction demonstrates once again that government officials who engage in bribery and fraud belong in jail, period. Justice was served.
“In light of the guilty verdicts, I am unequivocally calling on the Governor to immediately withdraw all state permits related to CPV and initiate a full, comprehensive investigation into the project’s approvals. I’ve requested these actions be taken since 2016 but, now, there is no acceptable alternative.”