Tompkins County Legislature Opposes Power Plant Conversion To Natural Gas


The Tompkins County Legislature passed a resolution Tuesday urging the New York DEC to reject a proposal that would convert an old coal fired power plant to natural gas.

The measure also pushes Governor Cuomo to support the plant’s conversion to renewable energy and storage.

The vote came after almost four hours of public comments and the legislators’ discussion.

The power plant sits along the shore of Cayuga Lake in Lansing, just north of Ithaca.

The operating company wants to re-opened part of the plant using natural gas trucked from Pennsylvania. At the same time it wants to make a conversion to solar power.

A previous application to re-open the plant by increasing ratepayer fees was rejected by the Public Service Commission.

Over a hundred people filled the legislative chamber and about 50 spoke during a public comment period that lasted almost two hours.

The majority opposed the plant re-opening.

Opponents said keeping the plant opened with natural gas is the opposite of what the legislature should be doing to reduce fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Legislator Mike Sigler represents the district where the plant is located. He spoke in favor of the plant’s conversion and criticized opponents for not acknowledging the true consequences of its shutting down.

The resolution will now be sent to the DEC to consider.