While Governor Andrew Cuomo is pushing nuclear energy as part of his Community Clean Energy Projects initiative, Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) strongly opposes the enactment of a $7.6 billion nuclear subsidy to be spent over the next 12 years.The initiative would cost nearly $1 billion in the first two years and ratepayers would be assessed a surcharge to cover costs, Mr. Thiele said Thursday.
He has been an outspoken critic of PSEG-LI rates since the company took over management of the Long Island Power Authority system.
“I support the Clean Energy Standard of 50 percent renewable energy by 2030 and wholeheartedly endorse the state efforts to foster renewable energy such as wind and solar,” Mr. Thiele said.
But he called spending billions on a corporate bailout of the nuclear industry “a travesty” and said nuclear plants are aged, unprofitable and a danger to public health and safety.
“We should not be subsidizing nuclear energy to compete with renewable energy,” Mr. Thiele said.
The proposed subsidy is particularly unfair to Long Island ratepayers, the legislator said, pointing out that while the Shoreham Nuclear Power Station was closed years ago, customers are still paying for the “mistake” made by the Long Island Lighting Company, the forerunner to LIPA.
Long Island residents already pay some of the highest rates in the nation and with the surcharge proposed by the governor, would have another surcharge to keep unprofitable nuclear plants open.
The Public Service Commission that oversees rate increases approved the policy during the summer when the public isn’t focused on politics and activities of the state legislature, Mr. Thiele said.
“It is clear that this bailout was rushed through without full review and oversight,” he said. “This is the perfect example of what Senator Bernie Sanders called the rigged economy,” Mr. Thiele said, referring to the candidate who lost the Democratic nomination for president to Hillary Clinton.
“Our focus should be solely on renewable energy, not corporate bailouts,” Mr. Thiele said.