Congressman Collins Urges the Mothballing of the Combined Heat and Power Biomass Plant at the Canandaigua Veterans’ Medical Center
Washington D.C. – Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) released a letter today to United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie urging the mothballing of the Combined Heat and Power Biomass Plant at the Canandaigua Veterans’ Medical Center. Collins letter cites the declining cost of natural gas making the Biomass plant unfeasible to run costing taxpayers money instead of providing a savings.
In June 2010, the VA awarded a $15 million contract for construction of the department's first biomass steam-generation system in response to the increasing costs of natural gas at the time. After years of delay, the project was recently completed, but the facility has never operated. Since the plan’s inception, the cost of natural gas has fallen drastically, rendering the project's objective obsolete.
“Many thought this was a waste of money when it was proposed, and it has certainly proven to be so. Natural gas prices had fallen by more than fifty-percent between the time the VA conceptualized and awarded this contract,” said Congressman Collins. “Given the steady decline in natural gas prices after conceptualization, this project should have never been built.”
Congressman Collins learned that the VA is planning to force the Canandaigua facility to run the biomass system on a part-time basis in non-peak months beginning in the year 2020. Collins says that running the new biomass system, even on a part time basis, is a waste of tax payer funds which could be put to better use to serve our veterans.
“It is outrageous that the VA wants to force the Canandaigua facility to run the biomass system. Running this system during non-peak months is nothing more than big government bureaucracy at its finest. This is now about the VA saving face and wasting even more tax dollars,” added Collins.
Additionally, during a recent trip to the VA facility, Congressman Collins learned that the materials used to run the biomass system are highly combustible and could potentially cause harm to those on the VA Campus. Collins cited this as an additional reason to mothball the facility.
Text of the letter can be found here.