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Court gives NY role in relicensing effort for nuclear plant

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant in Buchanan, May

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant in Buchanan, May 9, 2012. Photo Credit: Newsday / Faye Murman

ALBANY — The state’s highest court on Monday gave ammunition to those, including Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, seeking to close the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Westchester County.

In a 7-0 decision, the Court of Appeals ruled that the state can require the power plant’s relicensing plan for the next 20 years to be subject to the state’s Coastal Management Program. Westchester County, although inland, is part of a coastal region.

“Today’s decision represents a major victory for the continued health and productivity of our state’s environment,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, whose office handled the case. “The court has now made it clear that policies protecting New York’s critical coastal resources are a necessary factor in considering whether to relicense the Indian Point facility.”

Cuomo has long promised to close the nuclear plant which he called a threat to public health and safety.

“Indian Point is antiquated and does not belong on the Hudson River in close proximity to New York City, where it poses a threat not only to the coastal resources and uses of the river, but to millions of New Yorkers living and working in the surrounding community,” Cuomo said.

The plant’s operator, Entergy Nuclear Operations, said it is fighting to keep the state Department of State from requiring the re-licensing effort to comply with the state’s environmental protection program.

Entergy had agreed in 2007 that it would comply with the state coastal management regulations. The company changed its position in 2012 when it found exemptions from the process if felt applied to Indian Point.

“Entergy is reviewing the court’s decision to determine its next steps, which could include refiling its Coastal Zone Management application,” said company spokesman Jerry Nappi. “We continue to believe we will ultimately be successful in obtaining a CZM permit and relicensing Indian Point.”

Monday’s decision reverses a state Appellate Court’s ruling that the Indian Point plant fits exemptions that would exclude the state’s coastal environmental review.

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