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Lowey Praises Deal To Close Indian Point Nuclear Power Plants By 2021

U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey Photo Credit: @NitaLowey
Indian Point Photo Credit: File

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D-Rockland/Westchester), praised the deal made public on Friday that Entergy will permanently close the Indian Point nuclear power plants in Buchanan by April 2021.

The proposed deal with state officials was confirmed Monday by Entergy, the nuclear reactors' owner, as reported here by Daily Voice.

“I applaud (the) agreement between Governor Cuomo and Entergy to close Indian Point Energy Center. Indian Point has long posed a grave threat to the safety and well-being of those living not only in the Lower Hudson Valley but to the nearly 18 million residents within a 50-mile radius, including New York City. I look forward to working with the Governor to find green solutions to meet New York’s energy needs, keep energy prices low, replace jobs and assist the workforce at Indian Point, support the local economy, and address the proper removal and storage of nuclear waste from the facility," said Lowey of Harrison.

“Since 2002, I have advocated shutting down the plant, and as Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, I will work to ensure the federal government assists in the safe closure of Indian Point.”

On Friday, state Sen. Terrence Murphy said, "Like many of my colleagues on the local, county and state level, I was shocked by today's news."

Murphy, a Republican who represents northern Westchester and Putnam, said, "At this point, we are still trying to obtain more information, but most troubling is the lack of transparent planning for the proposed shutdown of the plant. Having spoken with several local officials, our focus must be ensuring the well-being of those most directly affected. If these reports are in fact true, I can assure you, we are going to work in a bipartisan way to make sure the people who live and work here are taken care of."

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, D-Cold Spring, offered a whole different outlook on the proposed deal between plant owner Entergy and New York state officials.

“Since day one, I’ve supported responsibly phasing out operations at Indian Point – that means preserving jobs for workers and providing a reliable energy source that keeps prices low for Hudson Valley families," Maloney said in a statement. "I greatly appreciate Governor Cuomo and Entergy working together to wind down operations at Indian Point, especially after so many safety issues in recent years – from faulty baffle bolts to contaminated water leaks – have shown it is simply too dangerous to continue operating."

“But let me be clear – this agreement must include concrete plans to protect the jobs of hundreds of New Yorkers and keep energy prices low for my neighbors in the Hudson Valley. We can balance safety concerns with the security of local jobs and low energy bills and I will continue working with New York State to ensure the burden of shutting down Indian Point isn’t placed on the backs of hardworking folks in the Hudson Valley," Maloney added.

Earlier Friday as reported here by Daily Voice, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino held a news conference to say that county and local officials had "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."

Indian Point's two active nuclear power plants will close by April 2021 under an agreement confirmed by Astorino, who said the "secret deal" was "a complete surprise to us" and "potentially catastrophic."

"The impact of a plant closing in Westchester – as well as New York City – and rest of the state will be enormous," Astorino said.

Astorino said consequences include the loss of more than 1,000 jobs at the nuclear power plants in Buchanan and "skyrocketing energy costs, at a time when New York already has the most expensive rates in the continental United States."

Indian Point generates 25 percent of the electricity consumed by Westchester and New York City.

"There has been no discussion of how that energy is going to be replaced," Astorino said.

Astorino also pointed out that as recently as June of last year, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said, “Overall, Indian Point operates safely and continues to operate safely.”

Astorino, a Republican, said that neither Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, nor the plants' New Orleans-based owner, Entergy, informed him, nor the municipalities most affected by the plan.

Westchester County receives $4.5 million annually, the Town of Cortlandt receives about $1 million-a-year and the Village of Buchanan balances half its annual budget with nuclear power revenues. Revenues paid by Entergy also finance about 40 percent of the Hendrick Hudson School District budget in Cortlandt.

Entergy and New York state agreed to shut down both nuclear reactors at the Indian Point facility in northwestern Westchester near the Putnam border. Under the agreement, one of the reactors will be closed by April 2020 and a second by April 2021. The Hudson River site's third nuclear reactor closed in the 1970s.

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