Lowey Unveils Legislation to Address Impacts of Indian Point Closure
BUCHANAN, NY – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY17/Rockland-Westchester), Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee, today held a press conference at Buchanan Village Hall to announce steps she is taking, including three pieces of federal legislation she has introduced, to address serious economic and environmental concerns about the pending closure of the Indian Point Energy Center. Lowey was joined at the press conference by Village of Buchanan Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker, Town of Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi, and Hendrick Hudson School District Superintendent Joseph Hochreiter, as well as other local stakeholders.
“Since 2002, I have advocated for shutting down Indian Point because of its security and safety risks for all of us in the New York metro area. I applauded Governor Cuomo’s agreement with Entergy to close Indian Point’s two nuclear reactors in 2020 and 2021. We must act now to ensure on-site safety after the closure of Indian Point and to mitigate against economic hardship on our communities,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “The legislation I have announced today would help facilitate the continued safety and security of the Indian Point site and would establish a new source of funding for the community so we can maintain steady jobs and support the tax base after the plant closes. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress and my partners in the Village of Buchanan, the Town of Cortlandt, and the State of New York to responsibly close Indian Point in a way that protects our communities and workforce.”
Congresswoman Lowey today announced three bills, introduced in the U.S. House last week, to assist state and local stakeholders in addressing problems surrounding the pending closure of Indian Point:
- Removing Nuclear Waste from our Communities Act (H.R. 4442): One of the primary obstacles to redeveloping the Indian Point property will be the dry casks that will remain on-site in the absence of a central repository. This bill would expedite the process to remove spent fuel rods from the plant site by allowing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to license interim storage facilities elsewhere in the country and to prioritize the removal of nuclear waste from sites in densely populated areas like the Lower Hudson Valley.
- Safe and Secure Decommissioning Act (H.R. 4441): This bill would maintain the NRC’s emergency response and security requirements until all of the spent fuel on the site is moved into dry cask storage, which is the safest temporary way to store nuclear waste. This would ensure that spent fuel rods stored on-site at the closed facility remain safe and secure until a permanent repository for nuclear waste is operational.
- Redistribution of Fines to our Communities Act (H.R. 4440): Communities will need all the funds they can get to help offset lower revenue when the plant closes. As part of DOE’s enforcement program, it collects fines levied on plant owners for safety violations. This bill would redistribute safety-related fines to support the local tax base with replaced revenues from the closed nuclear plant, mitigating the economic impacts of plant closure and aiding our communities with economic development.
“The Village of Buchanan faces a double hit with the closure of Indian Point,” said Village of Buchanan Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker. “First, the loss of approximately 50 percent of our revenue, and, second, the indefinite storage of the spent fuel rods, which means that portion of the property will not be developed until they are removed. Also, the concern with the safety and security of the rods. We are grateful for Congresswoman Lowey’s support, for the introduction of this legislation, and for also co- sponsoring the STRANDED Act.”
“We have many challenges with Indian Point closing in 2020 and 2021,” said Town of Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi. “We will need assistance from the Federal government and from the State. I am particularly appreciative for the safety, security, financial and support for the workers at Indian Point in the Congresswoman’s proposals.”
“The revenue loss given the closure of Indian Point is catastrophic to our school district,” said Hendrick Hudson School District Superintendent Joseph Hochreiter. “Indian Point accounts for 30 percent of our district’s revenue, not including more than half a million dollars in grants and other resources they have provided our district in the last handful of years. I applaud the efforts of Congresswoman Lowey in taking action and engaging the federal government in understanding the financial impact Indian Point’s closing will have on our residents and students. We are lucky and fortunate to be represented in Washington with a representative that is an advocate for our community and students.”
In addition to the three bills announced today, Congresswoman Lowey is working with her colleagues in Congress whose communities have also dealt with the shuttering of nuclear plants. She has cosponsored the STRANDED Act, which requires the Department of Energy to compensate communities for storing nuclear waste. Congresswoman Lowey is also working with the Economic Development Agency to help facilitate its assistance for localities as they prepare for Indian Point’s closure and plan for future economic growth.