ALBANY, NY - In response to Governor Cuomo's announcement of the closure of the Indian Point power plant, State Senator Terrence Murphy, who represents the municipalities that Indian Point calls home, participated in and held two hearings to determine the potential impact the closure would have. Both in Albany and in Peekskill, local officials, labor leaders and residents voiced grave concern over the uncertainties that now lay before Northern Westchester County and the Hudson Valley Region.
On Wednesday, the New York State Senate passed its one-house budget resolution to signify its financial priorities and obligations for the coming year. Among the many provisions, the budget resolution includes language that addresses several concerns that witnesses raised to Senator Murphy during the hearings: potential reuse of Entergy's property, financial stabilization of the Hendrick Hudson School District, retraining of local workers and exit physicals for those working at the facility.
Senator Murphy said, "While Governor Cuomo touted his success in closing Indian Point, he failed to provide any plan or acknowledgement within his own budget proposal that will help our local communities. We need a plan to address the potential closure of Indian Point. This will change the lives of thousands of our neighbors and force many to move."
The Senate's budget resolution specifically advanced a proposal in Part QQ of the Article VII language to perform a comprehensive study to develop and recommend possible solutions for the reutilization of the property that contains the Indian Point nuclear power generating facility. The final copy of the study, and its recommendations, would be produced before December 1, 2017, and delivered to the Governor, Senate, and Assembly.
In addition, language was included in the ELFA portion of the budget that would allow the Hendrick Hudson School District to establish a reserve fund to stabilize the local fiscal impact of the closure of Indian Point.
Further, language supports the retraining of workers at Indian Point to perform the decommissioning work at the facility in an effort to keep good-paying, highly skilled jobs in the Hudson Valley. Lastly, the resolution includes language that supports the administering of exit physicals for every employee of the facility prior to the conclusion of their employment.
Senator Murphy added, "Including these important provisions in the Senate's one-house budget provides a strong commitment by my colleagues that we are not going to abandon the residents, workers, businesses and children who stand to lose so much if Indian Point closes. As we move through the final stages of the budget, I sincerely hope the Governor recognizes the impact his actions regarding Indian Point will have on all New Yorkers and provides the support our region needs."
Westchester County Legislator John Testa said, "It is critical that funds are made available for the study to be as comprehensive as possible in order to have a viable plan for the future. Finding ways that the plant's more than two hundred acres can be repurposed must be studied thoroughly and begin immediately. The livelihood of too many families are at stake. Using the established $15 million community fund would accomplish that need. Thanks to Senator Murphy and his colleagues for taking the issues head-on and working closely with the communities most affected to develop a plan for the future that works best for them. I look forward to working alongside all involved with this effort."
Buchanan Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker said, "I thank Senator Murphy for hearing our concerns and including these important provisions in the Senate's one-house budget. This is an important step forward in a long process that we have ahead of us but I am glad to see efforts being made on our behalf."
Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi said, "I support any and all efforts to assist our community with the recent announcement of the closure of the two nuclear plants at Indian Point owned by Entergy in the years 2020 and 2021."
The Assembly's one-house resolution included the codification of Governor Cuomo's Indian Point Task Force. The State budget is due March 31st.