It goes without saying that we all love New York. That’s the main reason we at Clearwater work as hard as we do to protect the environment, and work for a safe, clean, renewable energy future. What we don’t love is paying $40 million every month to bail out nuclear reactors that New York should be shutting down, not propping up. That’s why Clearwater has gone to court to stop the New York’s nuclear subsidy – one of the biggest, most dangerous energy schemes in the country. And we need your support.
Since April 1 of last year, New Yorkers have paid $480 million in subsidies to Exelon to keep four aging and dangerous nuclear reactors on the shores of Lake Ontario operating despite the fact that they are no longer economically viable. Two of them, FitzPatrick and Ginna, were supposed to close in 2017 – and two other reactors at Nine Mile Point could and should have closed soon. However, despite widespread opposition and without adequate time for public comment or careful consideration of alternatives, the Public Service Commission awarded these nuclear plants a huge subsidy, which we believe would have been better invested in infrastructure to accelerate the transition to a renewable energy economy, with storage and energy efficiency. Unless we stop the bailout, New Yorkers will be forced to spend approximately $7.6 billion in subsidies for nuclear over the next 11 years – three times more than the state will spend on renewable energy–while these reactors will continue to generate hundreds of tons of additional nuclear waste, for which there are no safe disposal options.
People throughout the state were shocked and outraged when the PSC included the nuclear subsidies in its Clean Energy Standard: promoting nuclear power alongside truly clean renewable energy is a dangerous precedent. But the PSC enacted the bailout before most people even knew it was happening, and how much it would cost. That’s not good energy policy. And the PSC has broken state law to do it. State law requires agencies to give the public 45 days notice before making major policy decisions, to give New Yorkers time to weigh in. That didn’t happen with the nuclear bailout.
So we and dozens of organizations, businesses, and residents filed suit to stop it, and we’ve already won our first battle. Exelon, Entergy, and the state threw everything they could at us to get the lawsuit dismissed – and failed. The NY Supreme Court has ruled our case will be heard. While many of Clearwater’s members who joined the suit were unfortunately dropped by the judge’s decision, our suit survived the motions to dismiss and we now need financial support to continue the fight.
The bailout was based on deceptively including nuclear power in a “Clean Energy Standard,” alongside solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources. There is nothing “clean” about nuclear power. From uranium mining to generating nuclear waste and every step in between, nuclear power is dirty, dangerous energy. A nuclear meltdown at any of the upstate reactors would contaminate Lake Ontario, the source of drinking water for 20 million people. It would contaminate the Adirondacks, the Finger Lakes, the Catskills, and cities from Rochester to Syracuse to Albany, and beyond.
Repealing New York’s nuclear bailout is a chance not only to close old, dirty and dangerous reactors – but to prevent more bailouts in other states. If we win here, it will show people everywhere that nuclear subsidies can be challenged in court and defeated. Nuclear corporations have used the New York bailout to push Illinois and Connecticut for subsidies, and they are now moving on to New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and other states.
This is truly a David-and-Goliath struggle. Four environmental groups and a small farm against New York State and the two largest nuclear power companies in the U.S.: Exelon and Entergy. We can win, but we need your support to do it. Every donation, no matter how small, will help.
Please contribute to our legal fund by going to Clearwater’s Donate Page and selecting the “Article 78 Challenge to NY Nuclear Subsidy” option – or by mailing a check to 724 Wolcott Ave., Beacon, NY 12508. Whether you donate $5 or $500 — every little bit helps.