The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the multinational energy company National Grid mutually agreed to extend the deadline for a final decision on a permit that could expand natural gas production at the Greenpoint Energy Center.

The request for extension was filed Friday, the day after residents, local activists and two Congresswomen called on Gov. Kathy Hochul to reconsider the air permit that would allow the energy facility to process more liquid natural gas, and by extension, potentially leak more airborne pollutants. National Grid signed and agreed to the extension the same day it was submitted. A decision had been slated to happen by February 7th.

DEC officials told WNYC/Gothmist that the extra time would enable the agency to complete its ongoing review of more than 6,000 public comments submitted between November 10th, 2020 and March 22nd, 2021, including from three public hearings held in March 2021. They also said it’s the sixth time an extension has been made since National Grid initially requested the permit in May 2020.

“Once the review is complete, DEC will determine next steps, including if an adjudicatory hearing would be held on the application, prior to making a decision,” DEC said in an email to WNYC/Gothamist.

DEC is also reviewing a proposal that National Grid submitted in October 2021 to show the project is in compliance with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). This law requires applicants seeking air and facility permits to present documentation and analysis that greenhouse gas emissions limits set by the state are still being met and that it has mitigation measures to reduce the impacts on local communities.

A pending lawsuit filed by the renewable energy advocacy group Sane Energy and Cooper Park houses, a NYCHA development located near the power plant, claims the expansion of natural gas capacity at the Greenpoint Energy Center is a violation of city environmental justice laws as well as state mandates for reduced dependence on fossil fuels. National Grid aims to add two vaporizers — essentially large boilers for processing liquid natural gas – to the site.

Sane Energy’s environmental experts told WNYC/Gothamist last week that the new infrastructure is unnecessary and would increase emissions that could harm health and contribute to climate change. According to National Grid’s own calculations, the Greenpoint facility used only 1% of its liquid natural gas capacity last year, and its vaporizers were turned on only two to 14 days per year, in the past five to six years.

The final decision for the air permit is now expected by March 7, 2022.