Activists Oppose Ratepayer Bailout of Nuke Plants
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
NEW YORK – More than 70 environmental and consumer groups have signed a letter asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to stop a plan to have electric consumers subsidize aging upstate nuclear power plants.
Under a plan approved by the Public Service Commission (PSC), ratepayers would pay at least $7.6 billion over 12 years to keep the plants operating.
The governor claims the plants are needed to meet the state's goal of getting 50 percent of its electricity from clean, renewable sources by 2030. But Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at SUNY Old Westbury and a member of the board of directors for Beyond Nuclear, said nuclear power has no place in a clean-energy plan.
"Nuclear power is not a clean nor renewable source," he said. "It's dirty and it's dangerous, and it's very expensive."
The governor also said closing the aging nuclear plants would cost more than 1,500 jobs and vital tax revenue in upstate counties.
Grossman said 60 percent of the subsidy would be borne by downstate consumers who already pay some of the highest electric rates in the country. He said investing that money in renewables such as wind and solar would produce far more jobs.
"Studies have shown that if $7.6 billion would be invested in truly clean, renewable energy, there would be something like 80,000 new jobs," he explained.
The New York Public Interest Research Group and Food and Water Watch have launched an online petition campaign to block the plan from going into effect.
According to Grossman, the PSC could still reverse itself and cancel the subsidy. But if it won't, there may be another solution.
"If the Public Service Commission doesn't have the independence, a good number of New York State legislators have been moving to undo the terrible thing that Andrew Cuomo has done," Grossman added.
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