Today’s news:

State to hold public hearings on clean energy plant plans

The state Department of Environmental Conservation will host two public hearing sessions on the NRG Astoria Repowering Project plant this Thursday at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Residents will be able to provide comments on the environmental impact statement and permit applications for plans to upgrade the plant, at 31-01 20th Ave. in Astoria.

The NRG Astoria Repowering Project is planned as a cleaner replacement in western Queens for the notorious Charles Poletti Power Project, which was long considered the city’s largest polluter.

The upgrade includes removing 31 simple-cycle electrical generation turbines, all of which are more than 35 years old, which operate at the 20th Avenue site within the Astoria Con Edison complex.

In addition, the project will replace the units with higher efficiency combined-cycle turbines and increase the amount of electricity able to be generated at the facility by more than 70 percent with no significant increase in emissions of air pollutants.

The plan also calls for reducing the emission of nitrogen oxides that occur during high energy demand days.

The hearings will be held at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Riccardo’s catering hall at 21-01 24th Ave. in Astoria.

Documents for the project can be viewed at Queens Library branches at 21-45 31st St. and 14-01 Astoria Blvd., both of which are in Astoria,

Residents attending the sessions will be able to make comments on the project. But they can also submit written comments to the DEC through June 21.

Informal project update open houses will be held one hour before each public hearing begins.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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