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Seneca Energy wants to expand, but advocates are pushing back

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  • Staff Report 

Seneca Energy, an operator of a 17.6 megawatt facility in New York that transforms landfill methane into electricity and refined natural gas, is seeking to expand its operations.

However, environmental groups including the Seneca Lake Guardian, Earthjustice, and the Natural Resources Defense Council are raising concerns about the project’s compliance with air-pollution regulations. The groups express doubt about the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) directing the company to change their initial statement about being non-compliant with emission standards, to declaring compliance.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

The proposed expansion plan involves converting eight of the company’s 18 internal combustion engines to run on natural gas, with the remaining ten to be shut down within a year of a second high-BTU plant becoming operational.

Although the DEC claimed the project would result in lower greenhouse gas emissions, the environmental groups have criticized this assertion as “greenwashing”, arguing that the use of “renewable” natural gas still contributes to pollution. The groups are now calling for a public hearing on Seneca Energy’s application. As of now, the DEC has not made a decision on the expansion request.