NY State Governor Cuomo Vetoes LNG Plant AND Nuclear Plant

In a joyous surprise for the environmental community, NY’s Governor Cuomo gave us two more wins today.

He vetoed the Port Ambrose liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal proposed for the south shore of Long Island, in the exact area planned for an offshore wind farm. And his administration  refused to renew the license for the Indian Point Nuclear Plant on the shore of the Hudson River.

This comes after Cuomo banned fracking in NY State last year – a watershed victory. This year, Cuomo released the plan for "Reforming the Energy Vision," hailed as the most aggressive in the country. The fight continues, however, to prevent a network of natural gas pipelines in the state.

Port Ambrose

This completely unnecessary LNG plant would have taken the place of offshore wind, while threatening marine ecosystems and coastal communities with the risk of catastrophic spills and explosions. In a state that’s banned fracking, it would have encouraged pipelines to bring natural gas to the plant.

Fracking LNG Tanker

"My administration carefully reviewed this project from all angles, and we have determined that the security and economic risks far outweigh any potential benefits," says Cuomo. "Superstorm Sandy taught us how quickly things can go from bad to worse when major infrastructure fails – and the potential for disaster with this project during extreme weather or amid other security risks is simply unacceptable. We have terrorist groups that are springing up more and more, almost on a daily basis, that are looking for opportunities." 

He said Port Ambrose would "hinder the local maritime economy in a way that negatively impacts businesses throughout Long Island,  and that if anything energy-related is going offshore, it will be offshore wind. 

Quietly approved by federal agencies, activists were up in arms when they stumbled on plans for Port Ambrose. 

State Assembly Member Todd Kaminsky (who represents the district where Port Ambrose would have been located) worked tirelessly to stop the project, and the local city government opposed the project. A coalition of 60 businesses joined activists in fighting it for the past two years.

"From Keystone XL to Port Ambrose LLC, it is clear that a powerful tide is turning in this country, and that fossil fuel companies that put profits before people will no longer be allowed to run roughshod over local communities. This tide is turning for many reasons – because of growing science against fossil fuels, and enlightened officials, but most of all because people everywhere are taking a stand," says the NO LNG Coalition.

The offshore wind farm planned there would power 245,000 homes, create jobs, and move us toward a renewable energy economy, without potential blowouts and catastrophes.

Read our article, Cove Point LNG Plant Approved in Maryland, Lawsuit May Follow.

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant

The Cuomo administration filed an objection that could require this nuclear plant to close as soon as next year.

NY’s Department of State refused to give Indian Point the certificate that allow it to use water from the Hudson River, which is required for re-licensing. The agency cites numerous concerns that activists have pointed out for decades:

  • The nuclear plant is near two active seismic faults and has high risks from sea level rise and flooding
  • It is located in one of the most densely populated areas of the country, outside of NYC, and its history isn’t good – hundreds of accidents and malfunctions, including radiation leaks.
  • It requires 2.5 billion gallons of water of day to keep the nuclear plant cool, which kills aquatic life by heating the Hudson river. 

The objection means the plant cannot be re-licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission unless it is overridden by the US Secretary of Commerce on appeal.

A recent report shows that every, single commercial nuclear reactor in the US is vulnerable to terrorist threats. 11 of the 107 reactors are most at risk, but they all have problems, according to the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project at the University of Texas/ Austin. Indian Point, 24 miles north of New York City, ranks worst, receiving 384 citations over 12 years.

Read our article, Renewable Energy Can Replace Nuclear Plants.

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