Summertime FolliesFree Access

Summertime Follies

I have no old movies to recommend this week. So let’s look at some of our current follies.

To wit, first this: I am told I may have been unclear last week regarding Indian Point – I think the case for closing it is compelling. It is an aging plant, on the shores of the Hudson River, a few dozen miles from New York City. Important note: I did not mean to set up a dichotomy, that Indian Point must stay open because the new natural gas plant in Orange County, the Competitive Power Ventures Valley Energy Center, hasn’t been permitted yet.

My issue is this: It is unwise to fail to have a clear, detailed plan for replacement power, to cover that which Indian Point supplied. If the grid is in such fantastic shape that no such replacement power is needed, great.

If achievable conservation goals will handle it, great (I do NOT mean by this that we just pull the plug on Indian Point and then we’ll have to conserve, because the power simply won’t be there). Genuine, achievable goals.

If new transmission sources that are being constructed (and that WILL be in place in time) will take care of it, that’s OK too.

But let me be clear: I don’t think there’s a serious plan in place on which key stakeholders agree. I’ve seen the Riverkeeper analysis. I’ve seen the Business Council of New York State viewpoint. They do not say the same thing. I have also spoken with our state lawmakers. And I have seen the report of the NY Independent System Operator. I cannot report I have confidence this has been handled.

Of course, one reason no one in the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to go anywhere near this mess is that the CPV plant has been tainted by corruption involving a top aide to the governor. It was to be one of the sources of replacement power for Indian Point, and the DEC just denied a key operating permit, saying an additional federal Title V permit must be obtained first.

The governor is at hand and in front at nearly every natural disaster and every opening of a large public works project (the Second Avenue Subway, for instance). He trumpeted the agreement to close Indian Point. It would be reassuring if his people, or better yet Cuomo himself, outlined, in detail, what they plan to do to keep the lights on.

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Letters to the editor: Limit them to 500 words. Send to editor@pcnr.com. Include your town and phone. Please send as a Word document, NOT a PDF.

Until next week.

Douglas Cunningham is publisher of both the Courier and its sister paper the Putnam County News and Recorder, in Cold Spring.

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