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Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged to pull the plug on nuclear bailout, as lawmakers work against it

New York’s nuclear “bailout” faces court challenges and questions from lawmakers, Mc Alester News capital,  By Joe Mahoney | CNHI State Reporter May 18, 201ALBANY — The Cuomo administration’s effort to drive subsidies to three upstate nuclear-power plants is being challenged in both the courts and the halls of the statehouse.

The cost of what critics call a “nuclear bailout” is already being reflected in higher utility bills across the state.The opponents warn the plan will lead to higher costs for taxpayers and consumers as power bills increase for municipalities, school districts, universities and hospitals.

 Under the subsidy program, which has been approved by the Public Service Commission, New York utilities are buying power at inflated rates from Exelon, a Chicago company that owns the reactors at Nine Mile Point on the shores of Lake Ontario, James FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County and the R.E. Ginna Nuclear Plant in Wayne County.

OPPOSITION FORCES   Legislation to derail the program is pending in both houses of the State Legislature, though the fate of the measure is unclear. Meanwhile, lawsuits challenging the subsidy have been filed against the state by a group of owners of gas-fired power plants. The group contends the subsidy is illegal because it interferes with the federal government’s ability to regulate energy prices.

On a separate but related front, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, an environmental group, is challenging the arrangement in state court. It contends state regulators failed to follow proper procedures in approving the subsidy last year and that ratepayers will be left facing “unreasonable and unjust” costs.

The New York Public Interest Research Group, a consumer watchdog, has joined Clearwater’s court action. Its legislative director, Blair Horner, said court arguments in both lawsuits are expected to be heard within the next several weeks.

Horner noted several lawmakers have concerns that they were left out of the loop when Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed through a subsidy that is expected to cost billions of dollars.

“It’s sort of astonishing to them that they were cut out of the process,” he said…….

DEMONSTRATION  Those fighting the nuclear subsidy have stepped up their campaign to convince Cuomo to pull the plug on it.

Representatives of NYPIRG and other groups opposed to it, calling themselves Stop the Cuomo Tax, staged a demonstration this week outside the governor’s Manhattan office.

“Too many of us have trouble paying our utility bills already, and now Governor Cuomo is raising our rates by almost $8 billion to fund a giant giveaway to Exelon,” one of the protestors, Renata Pumarol, deputy director of New York Communities for Change, said in a statement.

Joe Mahoney covers the New York Statehouse for CNHI’s newspapers and websites. Reach him at jmahoney@cnhi.com  http://www.mcalesternews.com/cnhi_network/new-york-s-nuclear-bailout-faces-court-challenges-and-questions/article_ea4d5e6d-35de-5d97-a98e-e438d08bdd15.html

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May 19, 2017 - Posted by | Legal, USA

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