Reaction Mixed to Reported Indian Point Closure Deal
John Jordan | January 2017
BUCHANAN—The devil will certainly be in the details of the widely reported tentative deal between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Entergy Corp. to shutter the two nuclear reactors at Indian Point Energy Center here by 2021.
The New York Times initially reported the deal between the Cuomo administration and Entergy on Friday that calls for one of the reactors to close by April 2020, with the other ceasing operation a year later. While environmental groups and government leaders who have opposed the relicensing of Indian Point have praised the reported deal, some local officials and business groups fear the economic impact the closure could cause. The published report did state that the closure dates could be extended to 2024 and 2025 if all parties agree. Indian Point supplies approximately 25% of the power needs for New York City and Westchester County.
In addition to the governor’s office, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Riverkeeper, both staunch opponents of the nuclear plant’s relicensing with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, are reportedly involved in the closure negotiations with Entergy. The New Orleans-headquartered company has not issued a statement on the talks with New York State.
A spokesman for Gov. Cuomo has confirmed that talks are underway with Entergy, but stressed that no deal had been reached. Attorney General Schneiderman released a statement in which he stated, “”If we can shut down Indian Point under an agreement that enhances public safety and kick-starts investment into safer and more reliable renewable energy sources, that will be a major victory for the millions of New Yorkers who live in the region.”
Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino told reporters at a press conference on Friday afternoon that the closure of Indian Point could cause significant economic harm to Buchanan, Westchester County and the region.
“Westchester County has not been a part of any talks to close Indian Point—and that’s a big problem. Any discussion to close Indian Point must have the one million people of Westchester represented at the table. The impact of a plant closing in Westchester—as well as New York City—and rest of the state will be enormous,” he predicted.
Among the impacts cited by the County Executive include the loss of approximately 1,000 jobs at the power plant. In addition, Entergy currently pays $4.5 million in taxes to Westchester County, $1 million in taxes to the Town of Cortlandt and 40% of the Hendrick Hudson School District budget.
Astorino, who ran an unsuccessful campaign in 2014 to unseat Gov. Cuomo, noted that thus far there has been no information released on how Indian Point’s energy would be replaced.
“Closing Indian Point will wreak unwarranted economic chaos on the county of Westchester. Safety is always our paramount concern, but residents should know that the NRC has repeatedly disagreed with Cuomo’s assessment that the plant is unsafe,” he said. “As recently as June of last year, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said, ‘Overall, Indian Point operates safely and continues to operate safely.’”
Entergy bid for a 20-year renewal of its license from the NRC has now gone on for seven years. New York State officials have fought a bitter battle against the renewal and have not granted key permits required to operate the facility in the future.