The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (“NYCDEP”) recently released a report discussing the economic and environmental effects of a hypothetical retirement of Indian Point Energy Center (“Indian Point”), which comprises two large nuclear generation units in Cortlandt, New York in the Lower Hudson Valley. The report discusses some of the negative implications of shutting down such a major generator of electricity. Nuclear power results in no air pollution and has low marginal costs to generate electricity. As a result, the report concludes that most potential replacements for Indian Point would result in higher electricity prices and more air pollution. The report estimates that retiring Indian Point could increase costs to consumers across New York State by up to 10%, or over $1 billion dollars per year, starting in 2016. The report also found that retiring Indian Point could result in substantial increases in local air pollutants and greenhouse gases.
In order to continue operating over the long term, Indian Point needs to be re-licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and needs a new water quality certificate from the New York State Department of Environment Conservation. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s longstanding position is that Indian Point should be shut down because of the risks that it may pose to nearby populations, including those in New York City.
Gov. Cuomo recently signed legislation that reinstates Article X of the Public Service Law. Article X centralizes and streamlines the siting approval process for new power plants in New York. Part of the justification for this legislation was that streamlining siting approval would make it easier to replace Indian Point.
Entergy, the owner of Indian Point, continues its campaign to re-license the plant; notable public relations efforts include maintaining a dedicated twitter feed and reportedly attempting to hire former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to be a spokesman for the safety of the plant.
Sive, Paget & Riesel represents the Town of Cortlandt in the ongoing state and federal proceedings relating to Indian Point’s proposed relicensing.
Mark Lebel is a Summer Associate at Sive, Paget & Riesel