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New York decision makers absent from nuclear bailout hearing

Decision-makers skip N.Y. nuclear bailout hearing, Democrat and  Chronicle,  7  Mar  17  , @JonCampbellGAN     ALBANY – A state-approved bailout of three upstate nuclear power plants was the focus of a legislative hearing Monday, but New York’s top energy officials declined to attend.

The state Assembly held a hearing Monday on the state’s “zero-emissions credit” plan, which kicks in on April 1 and will require ratepayers across the state to pay several billion dollars over 12 years to keep open the three aging plants, including the R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant near Rochester.

The hearing, however, was absent the key decision-makers in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration who were behind the initiative.  The state Public Service Commission, which approved the measure last August, declined to testify in person, citing scheduling conflicts and a late invitation to attend. The state Energy Research Development Authority also declined……

Differing views

Without Cuomo’s administration participating Monday, lawmakers instead heard from private critics and supporters of the plan, including Exelon’s representatives. It began around 10 a.m. Monday and continued into the afternoon.

Blair Horner, legislative director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, urged lawmakers to pass legislation pausing the nuclear subsidy before it takes effect April 1.

NYPIRG and other critics of the plan estimate it will cost ratepayers $7.6 billion over 12 years, though the actual cost will depend largely on the cost of wholesale power.

“I think you hit that pause button, because once these things go on sale, it’s tough to un-ring that bell,” Horner said.

James Vaughn, senior manager at Exelon’s Nine Mile Point plant in Oswego County, spoke in support of the plan, urging lawmakers to be driven by “facts not fear.”

He said the plan is not about “lining our pockets with money,” but keeping the plants profitable so they can stay open and producing clean power.

“At the end of the day, we’re a business,” Vaughn said. “And without these (zero-emissions credits), these plants will shut down.”http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/politics/albany/2017/03/06/hearing-ny-nuclear-bailout/98806392/

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March 8, 2017 - Posted by | politics, USA

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