July 14, 2016
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jessica Azulay, (315) 480-1515, email@example.com
Over 40 Groups Ask Governor Cuomo and PSC for Extension Amid Flurry of News Regarding Governor Support for Ageing Nuclear Industry with $7.6 Billion Bailout from Clean Energy Standard
Groups Question: Why is Governor Cuomo Jumping Ahead of the Public Comment Period?
Protesters will Gather Outside Cuomo Fundraiser in Skaneateles at 5PM Today Following Announcement in Oswego
More than 40 organizations sent a letter to Governor Cuomo saying that New York’s Clean Energy Standard – and large sums of ratepayer money to support clean energy – must not go to supporting dirty and dangerous nuclear facilities. Groups asked for a public comment extension on substantial increases to subsidizing upstate nuclear power plants. The Clean Energy Standard is a proposed policy by the New York State Public Service Commission designed to meet the state’s renewable energy goal of producing 50 percent of electricity from renewable energy by 2030. In the current proposal $3.3 billion would go to renewable energy and efficiency and double that – $7.6 billion – to subsidizing three upstate nuclear power plants. Advocates say that the funding should support real clean energy, such as solar and wind, and are weighing in during the public comment period that is ongoing and closes Monday. Yet news broke yesterday that Governor Cuomo is supportive of Exelon buying the FitzPatrick nuclear power plant, a deal the company has made clear is contingent on the state putting in place the nuclear subsidies. Governor Cuomo said he has directed state agencies to “finish the job.” Shockingly, Governor Cuomo’s directive came before that public has had an opportunity to weigh in.
The public has been given just 10 days to comment on a new version of the nuclear bailout proposal, one that raised the projected price tag from $270 million to approximately $7.6 billion over 12 years. The groups wrote to call a halt to this plan, and to ask Governor Cuomo and Public Service Commission Chair Audrey Zibelman to intervene now to extend the 10-day public comment period to at least 45 days so that New Yorkers have time to analyze and comment on the proposal.
The letter is online here: http://www.allianceforagreeneconomy.org/nuclearbailoutextension
It states, “This is a mistaken policy that will hurt our state. There are cheaper, fairer and less costly ways of meeting the laudable goals of economic development and carbon reduction. Under this new proposal, New York will spend more than twice as much on nuclear subsidies as it will for renewable energy under the Clean Energy Standard. This is an opportunity cost and a waste of money that New Yorkers cannot afford. Furthermore, we have been given only 10 days (only 6 business days) to digest and comment on this new proposal. This is fundamentally unfair. Please intervene so that we have at least 45 days to analyze and comment on this proposal.”
The Public Service Commission and the Governor are rushing the process in order to try to save the beleaguered FitzPatrick reactor, owned by Entergy. The reactor is slated to close in January 2017, but due to the lucrative subsidies on the table for nuclear plants in New York, nuclear giant Exelon has said it is interested in buying FitzPatrick — but only if the state provides the billions of dollars in nuclear subsidies. Also the FitzPatrick reactor was recently shut down for 12 days due to an electrical issue that ended up causing the plant to spill oil into Lake Ontario—the drinking water source for over 9 million people.
After just receiving word that Governor Cuomo is holding a fundraiser in Skaneateles tonight, Central New Yorkers are planning to organize a group to protest outside to take this message directly to the governor.
“The purchase of Entergy’s FitzPatrick reactor by Exelon – if it goes forward – will be a terrible deal for electricity consumers in New York, for our public health and safety and will make the Clean Energy Standard a farce when the nation is looking to us for leadership on renewable energy,” said Jessica Azulay, program director of Alliance for a Green Economy. “It will be absurdly expensive and will take precious dollars from renewables and waste them on nuclear plants. This outrageous use of public money will raise our electricity rates and dwarf the state’s renewable energy efforts making the Clean Energy Standard a nuclear subsidy scheme disguised as renewable energy policy.”
“This represents an incredibly expensive missed opportunity to move beyond 20th Century electric generation to a truly green, renewable energy economy,” said NYPIRG Legislative Counsel Russ Haven. “These billions of dollars–more than the entire Clean Energy Fund–would be far better spent on aggressive efficiency and renewable energy programs, which have high, long-lasting environmental and economic returns.”
Wes Gillingham, Program Director of Catskill Mountainkeeper, said, “New Yorkers want to see real clean energy move forward. Ratepayers’ money should go to expanding wind, solar, energy efficiency and upgrading the grid, not putting dangerous and failing nuclear facilities on life support.”
“Governor Cuomo’s decision to prop up dangerous, aging nuclear plants is a giant step in the wrong direction. New Yorkers are demanding a clean energy revolution to move the state beyond all forms of dirty energy, creating thousands of green jobs in the process. Governor Cuomo must embrace a nuclear and carbon free future and support a just transition to 100% renewable energy. Instead he seems content to waste $7 billion on the dirty fuels of the past,” said Alex Beauchamp, Northeast Region Director at Food & Water Watch.