Clearwater Sues New York Over Nuclear Bailout

 Nine Mile Point

Nine Mile Point

Clearwater, a Beacon-based group and Rockland County organic farm Goshen Green Farms, co-founded by the late folk musician and activist Pete Seeger, are plaintiffs in a lawsuit to block a multi-billion-dollar, ratepayer-backed bailout for three upstate nuclear power plants.

EH&J opposes this lawsuit and supports the nuclear plant assistance.

The lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court in Albany seeks to overturn or significantly scale back the state-approved subsidy, which is meant to keep the three plants -- including the R.E. Ginna Nuclear Generating Station in Wayne County -- up and running.  The lawsuit claims the bailout will create "unreasonable and unjust" electricity rates. It also accuses regulators of not providing enough time for public comment.

The group's lawsuit is the second challenging New York's nuclear bailout. In October, a group of power plant owners sued the state in federal court, alleging the state was illegally interfering in interstate energy markets.

 Ginna nuclear power plant

Ginna nuclear power plant

The state Public Service Commission approved the Clean Energy Standard plan in August, laying out a plan for the state to achieve its goals of cutting emissions by 40 percent by 2030.  Part of that plan was the nuclear bailout, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration has called necessary to prevent the three aging upstate nuclear plants on line. The plants are valued by the state because they don't produce carbon emissions and employ hundreds.

 Fitzpatrick nuclear power plant

Fitzpatrick nuclear power plant

The subsidy plan requires utility companies and other electricity providers to purchase "zero emissions credits" from the state, with the money then passed along to the owners of the nuclear plants. The cost is passed directly to the utilities' customers.

A single company is in line to receive the subsidy: Chicago-based Exelon Corp., which owns the Ginna facility and the Nine Mile Point plant in Oswego County. The company is in the process of purchasing the James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County from Entergy Corp.

Without the subsidy, Entergy had planned to close FitzPatrick early next year, while Ginna had spent recent years propped up by a separate ratepayer subsidy that is soon to expire.

Cuomo's administration has estimated the cost for the average homeowner would be about $2 a month for the first two years of the program, which begins in April.  (LoHud.com-The Journal News, Dec 1, 2016)