Closure Agreement / Cuomo Nuclear Tax / Decommissioning / Editorials

Proponents of Indian Point Use Same Old Tired Arguments

“Wake up and smell the coffee guys. Take a look at what is happening in the electricity markets. Entergy is out of here because demand is shrinking and they can’t make money when there is an energy surplus. Which is what we have right now.

Generation to replace Indian Point is already in place. Ask the Independent Service Operator. Read the NYS Bureau of Ocean Management Report. Listen to the PSC. Look at the Synapse report. It’s all there if you can bother to read it. If not, keep your head buried in the sand and let the rest of the world go by – bright, well lit and a lot safer with Indian Point closed.” – Marilyn Elie

“Put focus on post-Indian Point world: A Journal News Editorial

We’re past political sniping. It’s time to unify and develop a smart economic response for the region

It still shocks. It still stings. But it’s time to shelve the politicking, finger-pointing and hand-wringing over secret negotiations that hammered out the planned closure of Indian Point’s nuclear plants in 2020 and 2021.

Anger over the closure was made clear at two meetings in the past week — one in Albany full of lawmakers and policy wonks, and one in Peekskill at a union hall filled with the people who face losing their highly skilled, well-paying jobs. What was less clear at these meetings: how communities like Buchanan and Peekskill, and key institutions like the Hendrick Hudson school district, local library and Verplanck fire district can buffer themselves from the inevitable financial fallout.

What can the future hold for localities that have stood by controversial, old, leaky, river-polluting nuclear plants? That’s what local and state officials need to figure out. And they need to do it together, now. Westchester Board of Legislators Chairman Mike Kaplowitz took a rather unpopular stand during the March 2 public hearing when he said that Indian Point’s nuclear future was a dead issue. He warned, to some audience grumblings, that communities face possible “financial armageddon” unless “we face up to it in adult fashion.”

In other words, it’s time to work on the sequel.

Slow burn

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the closure deal in January; it took until Feb. 28 to publicly announce a task force to address various issues tied to the four-year closure plan.The state task force, so far, lacks representation from the local business community and labor. At the Peekskill public hearing, organized by state Sen. Terrence Murphy, R-Yorktown, several expressed interest in joining. The table should be expanded, and the local economy should demand deep and immediate focus.

Meanwhile, local officials say they still haven’t heard from the governor, nor his energy “czar,” Richard Kauffman, nor the head of the Public Service Commission, Audrey Zibelman. Legal explanations aside, locals were still burned by Cuomo’s announcement of the closure deal, struck during secret negotiations among his office, the Attorney General, Riverkeeper and Entergy. It’s time the governor make personal assurances that the impact of the plants’ closures will be minimized.

That said, “minimized” is a relative term. Entergy’s payments to Buchanan supply half the little village’s operational budget. The Hendrick Hudson school district has already been informed by ratings agencies that the loss of Entergy’s payments, up to a third of its budget, will surely alter future bond financing rates. The land where the plant is located, which will continue to store radioactive materials, likely for decades, can’t realistically be counted on for any kind of taxable redevelopment.

Kauffman, whose official title is chairman of Energy and Finance for New York, said during the legislative hearing that locals are “lucky” to receive four years to plan for the shuttering, when other communities have had mere months. But Cortlandt Town Supervisor Linda Puglisi said that time will go fast. Planning for the future should already have started and must take place now.

Details lag

The Feb. 28 joint legislative meeting went on for more than eight hours. Testimony offered extensive information on Indian Point’s problems, which are significant and scary. Various state officials mapped out ample resources available to fill the power gap that Indian Point will leave — though many doubt the math. But what about ample jobs, and a continued healthy property tax base for the local communities? Details were less clear.

At Thursday’s Peekskill hearing, the hundreds in a packed union hall focused on all that’s wrong with the state government-driven deal and on the expected economic destruction to come. Entergy’s good works in the community were touted, with nary a mention that the energy giant entered the closure pact willingly, claiming that its motivations came from economic concerns, and not political pressure from environmental activists.

The deal is done. Change will come. Now is the time for state and local leaders to team up to develop a smart path to future economic growth. We just need to look across the river, at the North Rockland school district, where a power plant operator’s tax settlement a decade ago still wreaks financial havoc. The people of Cortlandt deserve a quick and unified effort to plan for a smart, financially sound future.”

To view the complete LoHud editorial, click the link below:

http://www.lohud.com/story/opinion/editorials/2017/03/03/put-focus-post-indian-point-world-editorial/98681544/

“Replacing Indian Point power a monumental task

Re: “Put focus on post-Indian Point world,” March 4 editorial:

The editorial board is right to wonder what will happen after Indian Point closes. State Sens. Terrence Murphy and Joseph Griffo, as well as Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, deserve praise for asking pointed questions about the state’s preparations — or lack thereof — for the plant’s early closure.

Those who’ve pushed to close Indian Point are now all too glib about how easily we’ll cope with the loss.

They’re going to bring in power from out of state, they say, yet they haven’t even taken advantage of the Article X siting law to attract new in-state generation or build more transmission here. Such projects take years to gain approvals, and the state has fostered an unfavorable business climate for private capital to invest here.

We don’t actually need the 2,000 megawatts of baseload power Indian Point pumps out year-round, they say — we can make do with far less. As if we can just snap our fingers and make our buildings and appliances so energy-efficient that we’ll cut our consumption by 30 percent. As if our need for electricity won’t increase as more and more of our devices, including cars, run on it.

Let’s face reality: replacing over 2,000 megawatts of zero-carbon baseload power is a monumental task. We have barely four years in which to do it — in a state where bureaucratic and political obstacles slow progress to a crawl. Albany may be able to afford the luxury of waiting, but our communities need action now.

Rob DiFrancesco
New York City

The writer is executive director of New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance.

To view the complete editorial, click the link below:

http://www.lohud.com/story/opinion/readers/2017/03/10/replacing-indian-point-power-monumental-task-letter/99004210/

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