Upstate Energy Jobs Coalition Lauds Governor For CES, Saving Upstate Nuclear Plants

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OSWEGO, NY – The Upstate Energy Jobs Coalition, a group representing more than 130 community, education and labor leaders throughout upstate and Central New York, sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo applauding his leadership, together with the Public Service Commission, in adopting the Clean Energy Standard.

The CES is an historic measure that makes upstate nuclear plants, Ginna, Nine Mile and FitzPatrick, financially viable while the state increases its renewable sources of electric generation.

This letter is another example of the extensive support for the CES, coming a few days after several of the state’s largest labor groups, including the New York State AFL-CIO, IBEW and NYS Building & Construction Trades Council, also reaffirmed to the PSC their support for the CES and keeping upstate nuclear plants online.

“Under the steadfast leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo, we are able to say that New York has introduced the most forward thinking emissions cutting measure in the nation with the Clean Energy Standard,” L. Michael Treadwell, CEO of the County of Oswego Industrial Development Agency and UEJ member, said today (Nov. 10). “Opposition groups, which are merely a team of anti-nuclear citizens under the guise of fringe environmentalism, fail to recognize that by valuing nuclear energy the same as other renewable energy sources, the Governor and the Public Service Commission have ensured the state would keep 25,000 jobs, $3.16 billion in state gross domestic product and $144 million in annual tax revenue from upstate nuclear plants.”

“If these fringe environmentalists really cared about New York’s environmental future, they would understand that without upstate nuclear plants the negative impact would be profound on our environment as these plants help avoid over 16 million tons of carbon emissions and 13,000 tons of NOxa year! Without upstate nuclear plants New York State would find it impossible to reach its carbon reduction goals. The impact is real and all we need to do is look to Germany, where they decided to end all nuclear energy, but are now grasping at straws to finalize plans to cut emissions further without nuclear plants,” he continued.

We are at a critical energy cross-roads – move to a clean energy future or further increase our addiction to fossil fuel for the next 30 years.

Going backward  and ignoring the effects of climate is not an acceptable path forward.

“Even President Barack Obama’s deputy assistant for energy and climate change said that nuclear plants coming offline across the country is “impacting our ability to reduce emissions,” Treadwell pointed out. “By implementing the CES, we are ensuring the economic and environmental well being for all New Yorkers. The Governor understands these principles and has incorporated them into the CES to benefit the entire state. We cannot thank the Governor enough for his hard work in making this initiative a reality.”

See full letter below:

November 10, 2016
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, New York 12224

Dear Governor Cuomo:

On behalf of the 139 undersigned organizations and individuals, representing leading environmental, labor, business, educational, economic development and civic organizations, we want to commend you and the staff of the New York State Department of Public Service (DPS), as well as the Public Service Commission (the Commission) for the recent adoption of the Clean Energy Standard (CES) and encourage you to continue working to implement it.

The CES sets an ambitious, but achievable, goal of 50 percent of its power from renewable energy sources by 2030, and a reduction in carbon emissions by 40 percent during the same time. This effort demonstrates New York’s leadership in achieving a clean, healthy environment for all of its residents. We appreciate the care and consideration that went into crafting the CES, including its recognition of the value of nuclear energy in providing carbon-free energy and as part of the solution for reducing carbon emissions.

New York possesses a diverse portfolio of electricity resources. More than 26 percent of New York’s electric power comes from renewable sources, including hydroelectric, wind, biomass and solar. The growth of these renewable energy sources has also stimulated the state’s economy spurring billions in direct investment. The CES has created a framework that will continue to encourage additional growth and development of this sector.

At the same time, nuclear energy provides 61 percent of New York’s carbon-free electricity and by developing policies that ensure its continued operation the state will prevent the emission of 26 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent level of emissions generated by approximately 5.5 million cars. As the Commission detailed, this leads to a net benefit of up to $4 billion in the value of lower emissions and less air pollution. Much like the growing renewables sector, nuclear energy provides significant economic benefits, with the state’s three upstate facilities alone, contributing thousands of well-paying jobs for New Yorkers, $144 million in state and local taxes and over $3 billion in state economic activity.

Throughout the regulatory process, the Commission and DPS staff conducted a rigorous review of the entire program considering nearly 10,000 public comments. While we recognize there will continue to be critics, we encourage the State to follow the earlier decision of the Commission and finalize the CES. With this action, New York has created a national standard where we are able to tackle the fundamental impacts of climate change, increase the use of renewable energy, prevent an increase in our reliance on fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal, recognize the value of carbon-free nuclear energy and maintain well-paying jobs, all while creating new jobs throughout the state.

The CES is a “win-win” for residents and we encourage you to support its implementation as adopted by the Commission. We appreciate your leadership and that of the DPS staff and Commission and we look forward to working with you on the implementation of the CES.

Thank you for your consideration.


cc:  Richard Kaufman, Chairman of Energy and Finance
Audrey Zibelman, Chair, New York State Public Service Commission

About Upstate Energy Jobs Coalition

Upstate Energy Jobs (UEJ) is a growing coalition of more than 130 upstate New York elected representatives, business leaders, members of organized labor, education institutions, economic development organizations and community leaders who are leading efforts to raise awareness among policymakers of the importance of keeping upstate New York’s nuclear energy plants open.  For more information or to voice support for preserving the region’s economic and environmental security, go to