Astorino argues the shutdown came from a
proverbial “three men in a room” deal
WHITE PLAINS – Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino filed two lawsuits on Tuesday, seeking what he said is to ensure that environmental reviews are undertaken to protect the laws, taxpayers, ratepayers and jobs with the closure of the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan.
Astorino cited “clear and numerous breaches” in the state’s
environmental laws. The lawsuits maintain the “three men in a room”
deal to close Indian Point by Governor Cuomo, Entergy and Riverkeeper,
“failed to comply” with the state’s Environmental Quality
The state failed to conduct an environmental review before announcing the closure plan in January, the county executive said.
The suits maintain the state put the public at risk by failing to examine:
whether sufficient energy sources will be available to replace the loss of 2,000 megawatts of electricity (roughly 25 percent of the current supply to nine million Westchester and New York City residents) so that rolling blackouts can be avoided;
whether the anticipated increases in electric bills will cause economic hardships for individuals, families, and businesses, particularly among minorities, low-income residents, seniors and others on fixed incomes;
whether the loss of thousands of jobs and a billion dollars of economic activity will devastate local communities and the county at large. (Payment in Lieu of Taxes losses alone are estimated at $72 million for Westchester County, the Town of Cortlandt, the Village of Buchanan and the 2,500-student Hendrick Hudson School District);
whether replacing zero-emission nuclear power with fossil fuels will contribute to climate change;
whether the decommissioning of the plant will require a taxpayer bailout since current funds are estimated to be more than $1 billion short of what will be needed;
whether the public will be exposed to health and safety dangers from leaving spent, radioactive fuel rods on site for a period estimated to range from 60 years to forever.
Astorino is a Republican. Democrats on the county board of legislators were critical of his latest legal actions.
Majority Leader Catherine Borgia said Astorino is using taxpayer money without legislators’ approval “for a frivolous lawsuit he knows we can’t win.”