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Katko says NY state can't afford to lose FitzPatrick nuclear because of new carbon emission rules

Rep. John Katko (R-NY) spoke at a rally to save the Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant on Monday. The owners of the plant said they may have to close it next year because it is no longer profitable with the low price of electricity. Katko said nuclear energy is clean energy and with new federal carbon emission standards, New York state can't afford to lose nuclear power plants.

"With the new laws that are out there with carbon emissions and new federal standards, they need clean energy big time," Katko said. "If they lose this plant, if they lose anymore of the nuclear power plants in New York state, there's no way possible that they can comply with the carbon emissions standards.

Katko said he has been in regular contact with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office and the president of Entergy, the corporation that owns FitzPatrick, to try and work something out. Katko is confident that no decision has been made yet and Entergy is trying to find a way to keep the plant open. A spokesperson for Entergy said a decision on the plant's future will be made by the end of October. If Entergy does close, about 600 jobs and $17 million in property taxes could be affected.

Estimates of those attending the rally range from 1,000-2,000 people.

Sean Bruno is the Mexico Academy and Central School District superintendent. The money that the FitzPatrick plant pays in property taxes, directly benefits the Mexico School District.

"People losing their jobs, families moving out, homes for sale, our students leaving and then finally home property values going down even further," Bruno said. "This story is all too familiar with upstate New Yorkers and it's gone on far too long.”

Shane Broadwell is an Oswego County legislator and one of the owners of a group of hotels and restaurants in Oswego. He said thousands of contractors come to Oswego annually to work on the plant and they sometimes will stay in the hotels for 30 days at a time.

“People could forecast that revenue, you see it coming, you knew it was there," Broadwell said. "Take that away and I’m telling you, it’s a big void that people aren’t talking about. It’s not just the employees or the taxes that they have but it’s also the contractors that come in and service that plant.”

If Entergy does close, about 600 jobs and $17 million in annual property taxes could be affected.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.