State Lawmakers to Convene Hearing on Indian Point Closure

John Jordan | February 2017

Indian Point Energy Center on the shores of the Hudson River in Buchanan

ALBANY—A joint meeting of state lawmakers from the Assembly and Senate will convene a hearing here Tuesday, February 28th at 10 a.m. to discuss and seek answers surrounding the planned shutdown of the Indian Point nuclear reactors in Buchanan by 2021.

In January, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced an agreement with Indian Point operator Entergy Corp. to shutter the complex 14 years earlier than when Entergy had been attempting to secure federal relicensing approvals. Per the agreement, Entergy will cease all operations at Indian Point and will shut down the Unit 2 reactor in April 2020. Unit 3 will be shut down in April of 2021. The Unit 1 reactor was permanently closed in October 1974.

The Feb. 28th hearing will be hosted by State Sen. Joe Griffo, chairman of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, and will seek to find answers to questions raised by the public since the closure announcement concerning the impact of the loss of locally produced power, the loss of local tax revenue, as well as learning details of the future energy plan for New York State. The hearing will be held at Roosevelt Hearing Room C, on the second floor of the Legislative Office Building.

“There are many questions that remain unanswered and I look forward to an opportunity to examine the implications of this decision,” Sen. Griffo said.

State Sen. Terrence Murphy, chairman of the Senate’s Investigations and Government Operations said, “Indian Point is a major power and job producer in the Hudson Valley. It is our responsibility to fully understand how the generated power, and jobs associated with it, will be replaced. I thank Senator Griffo and my colleagues for hosting this important hearing.”

In a telephone interview with Real Estate In-Depth, Sen. Murphy said that after a recent meeting he and other state legislators attended with members of the Cuomo Administration, he still has “1,001 questions” concerning the Indian Point closure and noted that he is “deeply concerned about losing 1,200 jobs up there, the economic impact on the local businesses up there, and the $24 million that is going to be pulled from underneath the seat of Hendrick Hudson Central School District.” He added that Entergy tax revenues make up 40% of the budget of the Village of Buchanan.

“There has been absolutely no transparency in any of this,” he charged. Sen. Murphy said that if he does not receive answers to these questions, he said he would call for an investigation into the Indian Point plant closure.

State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, chairwoman of the Assembly’s Energy Committee, added, “The safety of the communities near Indian Point must be the top priority throughout the closure process. As the plant’s closing progresses, we must also ensure that as the highest taxed area in the state, with among the highest cost of electricity, ratepayers do not bear the burden of this change and that communities are subsidized for their losses in taxes. This hearing will provide an opportunity to seek more information about these critical issues.”

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef said, “Indian Point has been a major industry in my district. With the agreement to close the nuclear plant within four years many questions need to be answered for residents, taxpayers, plant employees, as well as understanding energy replacement options. This hearing is key to getting the facts.”

The closure plan, while praised by some state officials and environmentalists, has been highly criticized by business groups and elected officials in and around the plant site in Buchanan. A number of local officials said they were blindsided by the governor’s announcement. For example, Cortlandt Town Supervisor Linda Pugliese, who has urged Gov. Cuomo to establish a Blue-Ribbon Commission to address the economic, environmental and security issues relating to the plant closure, said she first learned of the Indian Point closure agreement in a Jan. 6th report in the New York Times.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth