Company withdraws application for Ashokan power station
William J. Kemble is reporting for the Daily Freeman that the California company, Premium Energy Holdings, on April 12, withdrew its plan to build an underground hydropower station near the Ashokan [Ahh-SHOH-kin] Reservoir in Ulster County. Victor Rojas, president of Premium Energy Holdings, said the company will apply to use a different site, but only after all interested parties are consulted in advance. Rojas said sites near the Rondout and Neversink reservoirs as well as unspecified locations along the Hudson River are now under consideration. Both Roundout and Neversink, like the Ashokan, are operated by New York City. The Rondout Reservoir straddles the border of Ulster and Sullivan counties; Neversink is located entirely in Sullivan. Rojas did not rule out choosing another site near the Ashokan Reservoir, but said the chances of that happening are slim. The Premium proposal was dropped in the wake of widespread opposition, including from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, on whose land Premium wanted to create the 2,800-megawatt generating station 200 to 300 feet below ground. The Ulster County Legislature and County Executive Pat Ryan also opposed the plan, as did state Sens. Michelle Hinchey and Peter Oberacker, and the leaders of several Ulster County towns near the proposed site. A common complaint among government opponents and the DEP was that they were not notified about plan before the company filed its application with the state in late January. The station was to be powered by water from the Ashokan that first would be sent to a planned new reservoir. Premium originally was considering sites in West Shokan, Woodland Valley and Lanesville in Greene County, to create the new reservoir. Rojas said he was familiar with the opposition to his company's plan to use land near the Ashokan Reservoir and that he plans to visit the prospective new sites before choosing one. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.