Sen. George Maziarz (Senate energy chair), Sen. Catharine Young and Sen. Mike Nozzolio respond to "uninformed stance" of the Business Council and the Sierra Club
"We are shocked and deeply troubled by the press release circulated by the Business Council and Sierra Club calling for the closure of the upstate New York Dunkirk and Cayuga power generating stations," the senators said. "Their uninformed stance represents a direct attack on the communities that we represent, the workers at those facilities, and the Central and Western New York economy.
"Upstate New York has suffered through the loss of manufacturing jobs, tax base and population, and now the Business Council, which claims to support job creation and economic development, is working with leftwing New York City environmental interests to kill middle-class jobs in the power generation industry. The Business Council's out of touch, anti-jobs position on this issue and its collaboration with groups, who on a regular basis work to kill job opportunities and a hopeful future for upstate New York, is an affront to common sense and the antithesis of that organization's stated mission.
"The proposals to repower coal plants in Lansing and Dunkirk to natural gas will guarantee jobs remain for workers and new constructions jobs will be created, the tax base will be protected for communities and school districts, and the environment will be much cleaner.
"These proposals that have been submitted to the Public Service Commission in case 12-E-0577 represent commitments by NRG and Upstate Power to invest over $1 billion combined to in local communities by constructing state-of-the-art, combined cycle natural gas plants. These plants will create more than 1,000 construction jobs and maintain good-paying union jobs at the repowered plants and protect millions of dollars that are badly needed by local communities and schools.
"The energy produced at the repowered plans will substantially reduce (by between 73 to 100 percent) emissions of harmful pollutants such as mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide and particulate matter.
"Studies show that repowering these plants will produce substantial ratepayer savings, with at least $300 million in benefits to ratepayers totaling $3 billion over the next 10 years. These savings will help energy consumers, including family budgets, senior citizens on fixed incomes, and manufacturers and small businesses that provide jobs.
"The Business Council's assessment was premature, without a factual basis or adequate research, and heavily weighted toward the special interests of private utility companies that have vested financial stakes in killing these projects."