The Charles Poletti Power Plant
Located in Queens, and named after a New York Governor, the Charles Poletti Power Project was bought by the state’s Power Authority from its original owner ConEd in the early 70s. While it was built as an oil-fueled facility, it was transformed to function on natural gas as well, with the beginning of the next decade. This means that the plan could run on either oil or natural gas, at any given time.
Government and state-funded institutions used to greatly benefit by using the state-owned plant´s low-cost energy. However, this old plant was not up to the modern environmental standards of the NYPA, which include the green double-cycle energy generation, which uses one single fuel source to feed two power generators.
In fact, the plant ceased operations the last day of January 2010. Commenting on the occasion, Queens Assemblyman Michael Gianaris said, “The imminent closing of one of the biggest polluters in New York City marks a major achievement in our long struggle to improve air quality. I will continue to fight for a sensible energy policy that balances our electric and environmental needs so that New Yorkers’ health is protected while we generate the power for our economy to thrive.”
Unfortunately, air pollution was not the only problem with the Poletti plant. At the time when it was built, asbestos use was still not sufficiently regulated. This dangerous group of minerals can cause two forms of cancer (lung cancer and mesothelioma) and a respiratory condition (asbestosis).
Asbestos fibers may have been present in the work environment of those employed at the Poletti Power Project, who might also have, unknowingly, carried them home to contaminate their family members as well.
People who worked at Poletti and their families should be very vigilant, lest they should be affected by one of the mentioned conditions, which may take decades to develop. If you are in this position, you should consult your doctor, to ensure that your health is not in danger. In case you have been affected by asbestos exposure, you should also seek legal advice to explore the possibility of obtaining compensation.