On October 27, 2021, the state of New York awarded $15 million to help create resilient economies in communities whose will suffer revenue loss due to the shutdown of an old nuclear power plant.
The money will go towards infrastructure renewal projects, job training, decommissioning monitoring, and environmental research in the host communities of the former Indian Point nuclear power plant. The plant went online in 1962, and permanently ceased power operations as of April 30, 2021.
County Executive George Latimer said, “This is another example of what good government can do when we come together to do good. Thanks to these funds these needed infrastructure projects will see shovels in the ground. That is good news for Westchester residents, as we all benefit from improved water, air and physical infrastructure, and good news for Westchester’s workforce because these funds can directly lead to more jobs.”
The awards were made possible by New York’s legal settlement with Entergy, the former owner of Indian Point, as part of its 2017 agreement to close the aging nuclear power plant.
“This funding is part of a comprehensive approach to ensure that Indian Point’s closure does not translate to a lack of investment in the region,” said Governor Kathy Hochul. “My administration is committed to working with unions and local leaders for a transition that strengthens the local economy, treats workers fairly, and protects the environment of New York State.”
Such awards of taxpayers dollars are just one example of the many hidden costs of nuclear power—such as the hundreds of billions spent decontaminating the sites of closed plants. and remediating uranium mine sites—that aren’t accounted for when the nuclear industry claims that their power is cheaper than wind or solar. Add in the medical (and human) costs of the millions of cancers worldwide that are arising in the aftermath of disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima, and nuclear energy is by far the most expensive on the planet.
“I thank Governor Hochul for accelerating these awards,” Chair of the Indian Point Closure Task Force Tom Congdon said. “We can now maximize other funds coming into the region, help workers affected by the plant’s closure, continue critical research on the Hudson River that was at risk of interruption, and provide more financial certainty to the impacted local governments that need to plan for large infrastructure projects.”
Award notification letters were sent to the Town of Cortlandt and Village of Buchanan, Historic Hudson Valley, Teamsters Local 456, Hendrick Hudson School District, and Hudson River Foundation for the following projects:
Town of Cortlandt and Village of Buchanan: $7 million
To support the planning of four intermunicipal sewer projects, including the refurbishing and expansion of the Buchanan Wastewater Treatment Plant and the connection of a new sewer district in Montrose, designed to leverage up to approximately $10 million in additional state monies.
Hudson River Foundation: $6.5 million
For the Hudson River Biological Monitoring Program, which consists of funding for a variety of research efforts to continue monitoring the status of fish populations in the Hudson River and the food sources (lower food web) for Hudson River fishes. This program was previously funded by Entergy prior to the plant’s closure and included in the Settlement Agreement as a priority project to be funded.
Historic Hudson Valley: $750,000
For historical and environmental integrity improvements to museum property and to leverage a $3 million Federal Highway Administration grant that would otherwise be lost for the Van Cortlandt Manor Gateway Project.
Hendrick Hudson School District: $500,000
To purchase and operate air monitoring equipment at the Buchanan-Verplanck Elementary School during decommissioning.
Teamsters Local 456: $250,000
To purchase a commercial driver training simulator that will provide training and new job skills to union members.
Senator Pete Harckham said, “The announcement today is good news for residents of the communities that are most impacted by the closure of the Indian Point Energy Center. These significant investments in infrastructure will assist in economic redevelopment in the impacted communities. There are also important investments being made in environmental safety, job training and historical preservation. I applaud Governor Hochul for these important investments.”
SVP of the Historic Hudson Valley Peter Pockriss said, “We’re most appreciative of this pivotal funding, which will leverage Federal dollars and make possible environmental and infrastructure improvements that will ensure the safety, comfort, and enjoyment of visitors to Van Cortlandt Manor.”
This is a good example of how state governments can work collaboratively with the local taxing jurisdictions, legislators, unions, and community leaders to responsibly transition regional economies to a more resilient, diversified form.
Riverkeeper’s boat captain and Vice President for Advocacy John Lipscomb said, “Riverkeeper is very pleased by New York State’s decision to support a diverse set of projects, communities and individuals via the Indian Point Community and Environmental Fund. We’re particularly gratified to see funding to continue the Hudson River Biological Monitoring Program, which was funded for decades by power plants to measure their destructive impact on the Hudson River ecosystem. As one of the world’s most comprehensive continuous fish population surveys, it is critical to ongoing efforts to restore depleted fish populations.”
More than $100 million is projected to be awarded over seven years to these taxing jurisdictions, providing them time to adjust to the loss of approximately $32 million per year that had been paid by Entergy when the plant was operating.
2008 photo of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant on the Hudson River is by Tony via Wikipedia.