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New Jersey Governor plans multi $billion subsidy for nuclear power stations

Christie’s Last-Minute Nuclear Bailout Plans for New Jersey NRDC  In the latest move to ram through a multibillion-dollar subsidy package for the state’s (currently thriving) nuclear plants, outgoing Governor Chris Christie is signaling that he won’t consider legislation that includes provisions to protect taxpayers and preserve New Jersey’s ability to continue to grow its clean energy businesses. If the New Jersey Legislature passes a bill to subsidize those plants before Gov.-elect Phil Murphy takes office on January 16, it will not protect consumers, employees, communities or the environment.

That’s not good for New Jersey.

There is broad support for keeping two plants open—Salem and Hope Creek, both in Salem County. The only question is whether we need to do this now—without a deliberate, thoughtful and transparent plan that narrowly tailors any financial support; truly protects workers and communities; and avoids hamstringing Governor-elect Murphy’s ambitious clean energy agenda.

If you’re wondering why we’re even talking about this, see my previous blog Transitioning From Uneconomical Nuclear Power in New Jersey.

Opposition to the process

Citizens across the state are up in arms. The NRDC Action Fund has engaged over 10,000 constituents; Environment New Jersey, Environmental Defense Fund and AARP members are also out in force. People are horrified at the secretive process. It is December 8, and we haven’t seen a bill. Yet Christie—who currently enjoys the lowest approval rating of any sitting U.S. governor—and PSEG seem to be moving forward in full force to secure this bailout in hopes that everyone is distracted with holiday festivities. A frequent snicker at Monday’s hearing, without a bill to even discuss: “We could all go to Washington if we wanted to be treated so shabbily.”

Reported substance is even worse

The substance is even worse than the process. To recap, the proposal—as it is well understood by insiders, since only those writing the legislative language have seen it—is a standalone subsidy for existing nuclear plants. PSEG set out a few particulars at the hearing:

  • The subsidy will cost consumers about $400 million per year;
  • The state regulator—the Board of Public Utilities—will review the company’s claim that the plants require a subsidy to continue operation;
  • The board will adjust the subsidy to reflect increased revenue to the plants should New Jersey join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, as Governor-elect Murphy has pledged; and
  • The subsidy will be reviewed every three years.

What should be included

There was no hint of any provision to minimize costs, or to protect workers, host communities, and the environment when these plants eventually do close because nuclear power is not economical in today’s energy landscape……..


December 9, 2017 - Posted by | politics, USA

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