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Did Cuomo change his mind about wanting to close Indian Point?

Payne Horning
State Sen. Patty Ritchie praised Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his effort to make a proposed plan for nuclear power plant subsidies a reality. She spoke at an Oswego rally where local leaders revealed that 3,600 people signed a petition supporting the subsidies.

Pro- and anti-nuclear power groups are making their final cases for New York state to adopt or reject a proposal that would financially support the state's nuclear power plants. A decision on the nuclear subsidy plan is expected from the Public Service Commission (PSC) within the next week.

At a rally in Oswego supporting the PSC's plan, Assemblyman Will Barclay (R-Pulaski) praised the democratic governor.

"A guy I don't always agree with -believe it or not- but Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo, on this one I agree with Gov. Cuomo," Barclay said. "Thank you for your leadership on this issue. He's been terrific and I hope he continues to push it through until the PSC decision."

Earlier this year, Cuomo directed the PSC to develop a way to help financially struggling nuclear plants. He wants to add nuclear energy to his larger goal of doubling the state's clean and renewable energy sources. The plan the PSC initially released did not favor subsidies for the state's only profitable nuclear power plant, Indian Point nearby New York City. Cuomo has repeatedly called for that plant to be closed because of its proximity to the city. But, the PSC's newest nuclear subsidy plan leaves the door open to support Indian Point.

"Indian Point has been something that’s been difficult for the governor, but given where we are now, I would have to say I want to give him an even bigger thank you for looking at the bigger picture knowing that it’s important to making sure we keep 615 jobs at that facility [FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant]," said state Sen. Patty Ritchie (R-Owegatchie).

She said Cuomo has been a "huge part" of where the state is now: Indian Point's owner Entergy is now considering selling the FitzPatrick plant in Oswego County to Exelon, which owns the nearby Nine Mile Point and Ginna nuclear facilities. The company had previously said it was going to close FitzPatrick for economic reasons.

"They [Cuomo and his staff] have said all along that they are going to do whatever they can to keep the lights on at the plant [FitzPatrick] and I think that's what the governor is doing," Ritchie said.

But not all are thrilled with Cuomo's actions. A few members of the New York state legislature are protesting the subsidies, including state Sen. David Carlucci, who serves on the senate's energy committee. In a letter to the PSC, Carlucci said the plan to invest $965 million into the state's nuclear plants in the first two years of the program will cause a spike in consumer energy bills and needs to be reconsidered. 

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.