Le Lézard
Subjects: LAW, STP, AVO

As Lawsuit Challenging NYS Nuclear Subsidies Proceeds In State Court, A Lobbyist Boasts About "Profitable Politics"

ALBANY, N.Y., April 3, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- News of a former Exelon lobbyist boasting about obtaining multi-billion-dollar subsidies to bail out New York's failing nuclear plants underscores the importance of a lawsuit challenging those subsidies in state court, say the co-petitioners. Their suit (Matter of Hudson River Sloop Clearwater v. NYS Public Service CommissionAlbany County, 7242-16) is distinct from federal court challenges.

As of April 1 New York ratepayers have paid one year's worth surcharges on their electric bills to subsidize aging, uncompetitive nuclear plants in the state, including FitzPatrick, Ginna, and Nine Mile Point, all owned by Exelon. Payments already amount to about half a billion dollars, and will total $7.6 billion over the next 11 years (more if Entergy's Indian Point plant also accesses the subsidies).

The PSC says its decision to approve the subsidies was not due to lobbying. But last week, reports surfaced of a 2017 presentation by former Exelon lobbyist Michael Krancer bragging about the subsidies as a huge return on Exelon's "investment," including in lobbying.

One slide asks rhetorically, "Is Politics Profitable?," summarizes Exelon's outlays to buy FitzPatrick, make capital expenditures and conduct a lobbying and public relations campaign, and calls the billions Exelon will receive in subsidies an "ROI" (return on investment) of 750%. An adjacent image shows copious amounts of cash spiraling down a vortex.

Although Krancer hasn't worked for Exelon since 2010, the co-petitioners say his presentation illustrates what's wrong with New York's nuclear subsidies: they waste billions that should be spent on renewables and efficiency, and underwrite Exelon's profits at ratepayer expense after it played "politics" and mounted a lobbying campaign.

"Bragging about the massive profits the company is reaping on the backs of New York's captive ratepayers pours salt into the wound, and it's a wound we need to close," said Tim Judson, executive director of Nuclear Information and Resource Service, one of the co-petitioners in the suit.

"The record clearly shows how unreasonable it was for PSC to decide to subsidize aging, obsolete nuclear plants with ratepayer funds, without looking at all the alternatives or giving the public adequate time to comment," said Seth Davis, an environmental attorney and trustee of Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, one of the lead petitioners in the suit.

Expert sources on the suit available for comment and interviews.

Contact: Stephen Kent, skent@kentcom.com 914-589-5988

SOURCE Hudson River Sloop Clearwater

News published on 3 april 2018 at 14:03 and distributed by: