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Indian Point Nuclear Plant Closure Leaves Locals Scrambling To Deal With ‘Major Economic Loss’

Jared Anderson

The local communities that will be most impacted when the Indian Point nuclear power plant closes in five years have been left with few answers regarding several critical issues including tax stabilization, job losses and environmental concerns. The Town of Cortlandt and local villages were blindsided by last month’s announcement that the plant would close more than a decade earlier than planned, and NY Governor Cuomo’s office has yet to present an action plan to address detrimental impacts to residents and businesses.

Town of Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi and Hendrick Hudson School District Superintendent Joe Hochreiter have expressed continued disappointment at not being given advanced notice about losing the largest tax payer in the area. “The Entergy [plant owner] CEO just told us that they needed to keep it confidential, not an adequate response to us since we are the main stakeholders,” Ms. Puglisi said in a statement.

Indian Point has the capacity to generate about 2,000 megawatts of electricity – about 25% of the power consumed by New York City and Westchester County – and employs 1,200 permanent workers, along with hundreds of contractors and part-time employees. The loss of these jobs will have knock-on effects for local businesses.

The Hendrick Hudson School District receives 33% of its annual revenue from Indian Point, the Village of Buchanan 46%, the Hedrick Hudson Free Library 28%, Verplanck Fire District 64%, Westchester County 1%, and the Town of Cortlandt gets 2% of its budget’s annual revenue from the plant owner.

Hochreiter told an audience of 175 people gathered at a Cortlandt community center last Thursday that losing the 33% of his school district’s revenue currently paid by Entergy would be “devastating” and “dangerous,” as reported by The Gazette, a local newspaper. The tax payments Entergy makes will decrease by roughly one-third over the three years following Indian Point’s closure in 2021.

In addition to the loss of jobs and tax revenue concerns, local officials have questions about next steps for the 240-acre property situated along the Hudson River just south of the City of Peekskill. The spent nuclear fuel will be stored onsite for the foreseeable future, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. But only 100 acres of the Indian Point property are dedicated to nuclear operations, which leaves much of the property potentially open for redevelopment. Ms. Puglisi highlighted the need for an environmental assessment into what can be done with the property once power plant operations cease.

Conducting environmental and economic assessments that address local concerns, risks and options for the Indian Point site will likely take several years to complete, so local stakeholders are anxious to get these studies underway as soon as possible.

“Letters/e-mails/phone calls have been made or sent to the Governor and to his office…we still have no answers to these questions, only a pledge from the Governor’s Director of Operations that teams will eventually be sent from the State to work with us at the local level,” said Ms. Puglisi in a statement.

The Town of Cortlandt has yet to receive further information from the State. The Governor’s Office had not responded by the time of this post.

February 3, 2017 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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