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Lawmakers in talks with FitzPatrick owner to save plant

Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) and other New York lawmakers are working to keep the FitzPatrick Nuclear Plant in operation.

The decision on the future of the Fitzpatrick Nuclear Plant in Oswego County is expected this week. In the meantime, elected leaders at the local, state and federal level are engaged in talks with the plant's owner Entergy on how to keep the doors open. It's currently battling falling energy prices.

Central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) said the consensus among all parties involved from the governor's office to Entergy headquarters is keep the plant open. But, he admits that the outcome of the talks will center around costs.

"The bottom line is: the market is what the market is," Katko said. "We can’t sit there and wave a magic wand and make that operation profitable because the free market is dictating what’s going on and that’s the way it should be."

No one is revealing what is up for negotiation in these talks, but Katko did say that the bulk of any concessions would need to come from the state rather than the federal level. As Katko describes it, Fitzpatrick does have a bargaining chip in its ability to produce energy with few carbon emissions at a time when New York state has set lofty emission-reduction goals.

"If these plants go dark, they’re going to have be replaced by energy-producing plants that are not carbon free emissions and so the state has to put a value on that," Katko said.

Last week, Entergy devalued the worth of Fitzpatrick by $965 million. They made the same move with a Massachusetts plant that is now scheduled to be closed. But, Tammy Holden, Entergy spokesperson, said Friday despite that move, no decision has been made. She said company's current preference is to keep the plant open.