Update to our Community regarding the
Closure of Indian Point
From Supervisor Linda Puglisi
June 27, 2017
1. As you know, on 1/9/17 Governor Andrew Cuomo and the C.E.O. of Entergy (owner of the Indian Point Nuclear plants) announced the closure of the two operating nuclear plants in the years 2020/2021.
2. We were all very surprised since there was no advance notification to the host Village of Buchanan, (where the plants are located), the host Town of Cortlandt nor to the host School District Hendrick Hudson. The closure will also financially affect the Westchester County government, the Hendrick Hudson Free Library and the Verplanck Fire District. All are in the jurisdiction of Indian Point and receive annual revenue which assists in stabilizing taxes for our property owners.
3. The challenges we all face are:
The school district receives 33% of annual revenue from Indian Point, The Village of Buchanan 46%, the Hendrick Hudson Free Library 28%, a local fire department (Verplanck) 64%, Westchester County 1% and the Town of Cortlandt 2% of our annual revenue for our budgets. We are all partners of what’s called a P.I.L.O.T. – a ten year payment in lieu of taxes for tax stabilization. This revenue will end once the plants close with a reduction over a two year period.
1100 permanent jobs plus part-time jobs and many contractors and union workers will lose their positions.
- Safety and Security Issues:
The radioactive spent fuel rods that will remain in storage on this site – who will be monitoring and securing these rods into the future is our question.
The reclamation/clean up of the land including the 33 wells currently on the property, groundwater and Hudson River protection.
Impact to our local small businesses – very important and to our Chamber of Commerce. The employees of Indian Point are consumers for these businesses. Also, the reduction of assessment on this property once closed will be a factor for our tax stabilization issues. Future property values are big questions already being asked by property owners and we all have to be concerned about this issue.
- Re-use of this facility and property are major issues for our area.
- Superintendent Joe Hochreiter, Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker and I along with many other officials who represent our communities hosted a large public forum on 1/26/17 at the Town’s Community Center to show our unity in partnering together to meet the challenges we face due to the announced closure of these plants. The forum was well attended and after many officials voiced their support to us, the public asked questions and made important comments. This forum can be viewed on townofcortlandt.com. We thank all of our officials for their support.
- We then set up a community unity task force comprised of the key stakeholders, the Chamber of Commerce, interested residents, realtors, etc. This has been done and our first working task force meeting was held on 2/16/17 at Cortlandt Town Hall. This task force will continue to meet for years with the goal to develop plans to address the many impacts we face due to these closures. Three and four years go by quickly and we need to plan immediately, which we are doing. The task force has now met for six months.Various speakers (from other decommissioned nuclear plant areas), other agencies (NRC, D.O.E., will be asked to speak) and other elected officials and Entergy were speakers, to help us gather information.All task force meetings are open to the public to observe. The members will be working on planning short term and long term goals. Minutes will be taken at these task force meetings.
- Petitions were collected and sent to the Governor and to our federal elected officials to assist us with our issues and challenges from our community.
- The Superintendent, the Mayor and I were invited to the Journal News/LoHud editorial board to explain our many concerns and issues. It was well received and can be viewed at their website: http://www.lohud.com/story/opinion/editorials/2017/01/12/indian-point-closure-coming-but-what-next/96399462/Also, reporters from many media outlets have interviewed us. It’s a good way to get our message out to the State and federal officials that we need their assistance.
- I have spoken to a civic not-for-profit organization in Vermont regarding the closure of Entergy’s nuclear plant, Yankee, in their State. The Institute for Nuclear Host Communities attended a task force meeting so we could learn from their experiences.
- I also am calling other communities, such as, Sleepy Hollow to see how they dealt with major taxpayers shutting down. The GM plant closed in 1996 and Sleepy Hollow had to plan for the loss of tax revenues, just like we will in Buchanan/Cortlandt/Hendrick Hudson School District. They could be one of our speakers to our group, as well, in the near future.
- I also wrote a press release regarding the Governor’s announcement of $7.6 billion for upstate New York to keep two nuclear plants operating. We feel that funds should go to our area with the upcoming closure of the plants, as well.
- All of our elected officials including our Governor and U.S. officials have received letters, e-mails and calls from us telling them we need to plan NOW and we need their assistance. Recently, a New York State task force has been established and I am a member, along with the Mayor and School Superintendent.
- The reuse of the 240 acres (current Indian Point property) will be evaluated so we can possibly have future industries for ratables and jobs.
- A newly established citizen group “Power Through Cortlandt” has been organized and they have begun their effort to assist our school district and communities. We are working with them and applaud them for their efforts and work.
- The Town of Cortlandt has and will continue to put aside $100,000. each year in a reserve account to offset the future loss of revenue from Indian Point.
- Finally, NY State officials from the Governor’s office including the Public Service Department came to speak to our key stakeholders so that we could ask them our questions and find out what the State can and will do for our community. That meeting took place on May 31, 2017. The next meeting is scheduled for September 28, 2017. The State will pay for the cost of a consultant to address every concern and issue we have with the closure of these plants.
We will continue to update the community on our collective efforts on the closure of Indian Point (2020/2021). Go to our various websites and Facebook page.