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Activists: Halt work at power plant tied to Cuomo probe

ALBANY — An Orange County activist group called on the state Monday to halt all work on a proposed Hudson Valley power plant that’s been linked to a federal probe of the Cuomo administration.

“At this point, the governor must immediately rescind all state permits for this project and issue a Stop Work Order before the harm becomes irreparable,” the group called Protect Orange County said in a statement. “We urge U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to cast as wide a net as possible and scrutinize every approval issued and every decision maker involved at every layer of government. We must know whether any decision makers benefitted directly or indirectly from these approvals.”

At issue is a gas-fired plant being built by Maryland-based Competitive Power in Wawayanda, Orange County, and its link to a federal probe led by Bharara, the federal attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Last week, Bharara subpoenaed Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office for “records and documents” related to the “Buffalo Billion,” a signature economic-development project by the governor. He had previously subpoenaed Cuomo’s economic development agency and State University of New York Polytechnic Institute, the high-tech research center that has a major role in the Buffalo Billion projects.

The probe now appears to have widened, as investigators also are looking for records involving CPV, a source said. Joseph Percoco, one of Cuomo’s most loyal confidantes, and lobbyist Todd Howe, who worked not only for the governor but also his father, the late Mario Cuomo, also are part of the probe.

Percoco’s attorney issued a statement late Friday, saying: “Mr. Percoco was a dedicated and effective public servant, who is proud of the service that he rendered to the people of the state of New York.”

The Orange County environmental group opposes the plan in part because of the planned used of natural gas. In its statement, the group criticized the designation of a local planning board as lead agency for the power plant, saying it was too small to handle a proposal of such impact.

CPV already has the necessary state permits and has begun construction, the environmental group noted. But given the federal scrutiny, activists said work should be halted immediately.

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