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Coalition rallies against proposed nuclear plant subsidies

A coalition of more than 100 government watchdog, environmental and consumer groups staged pop-up rallies across the state Thursday to criticize Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s plan to subsidize three upstate nuclear plants with $7.7 billion from electric ratepayers over the next 12 years.

A small group of leaders from the groups made their case against the so-called Cuomo tax in Mineola, Albany, New York City, Poughkeepsie and White Plains.

In Mineola, the rally led by Blair Horner, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, called on the governor to “pull the plug” on the subsidies, which are projected to collect more than $500 million from Long Island ratepayers between 2017 and 2029.

In July, the state Public Service Commission approved the Clean Energy Standard, which sets plans for the state to derive 50 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. Around half of the goal would be met by nuclear plants, which the state would support by requiring utilities to purchase so-called zero-emission credits.

In a statement, the coalition charged that the subsidy for the nuclear plants had “nothing to do with clean energy. Instead, it will raise billions to prop up and subsidize three upstate nuclear plants — FitzPatrick, Ginna, and Nine Mile Point — that are among the oldest plants still operating in the United States.”

Representatives for the governor and PSC didn’t immediately comment.

LIPA trustees last month approved elements of the plan, which provides for LIPA to pay $65 million a year for the credits, beginning in April. LIPA also will receive a benefit from the plan because of its 18 percent ownership of the Nine Mile Point Two nuclear plant near Oswego, amounting to some $20 million a year. In all, the plan will cost ratepayers $45 million a year, LIPA has said.

A PSC spokesman said: “The significant benefits of the Clean Energy Standard in protecting our environment, our health and our air far outweigh the extra $2 per month that a typical residential household will be asked to pay.”


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