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NY nuke bailout to go on trial as Judge whittles down petitioners

A New York Albany County Supreme Court Judge ruled on January 22, 2018 that five of 61 petitioners will go to trial to challenge the legality of the state’s 2016 Clean Energy Standard which mandated that electricity ratepayers will have to shell out a $7.6 billion over the next 12 years to bailout four aging and uneconomical upstate nuclear power plants. The Clean Energy Standard establishes so-called “Zero Emission Credits” (ZEC) for nuclear power plants despite the fact that the front end of the uranium fuel chain process emits significant amounts of carbon. Supreme Court Justice Roger D. McDonough agreed on procedural grounds with the NY Public Service Commission, NY Attorney General and the nuclear industry to dismiss 56 of the petitioners because they did not file properly within the statute of limitations to oppose the Clean Energy Standard. However, over the objections the State of New York and nuclear industry, Judge McDounough’s ruling allows the five remaining Petitioners (Hudson River Sloop Cleanwater, Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, Goshen Green Farms, Nuclear Information and Resource Service and Promoting Health and Sustainable Energy) to go to trial on the cause for action on five of six complaints.  

The groups' amended petition sets forth six complaints to go to trial on the legality of the “zero energy credit” bailout of the four upstate nuclear power stations (Ginna, Nine Mile Point 1 & 2 and FitzPatrick). The amended complaint alleges, 1) the NY Public Service Commission (PSC) failed to follow the requirements of the State Administrative Procedures Act (SAPA); 2) the PSC actions were arbitrary and capricious and an abuse of discretion in declaring the nuclear power plants are “publicly necessary”; 3) the PSC Order contained a mistake of fact and violates SAPA code which requires the use of common language; 4)  the PSC actions are a violation of the State Environmental Quality Review Act; 5) the PSC violated the Public Service Law  by setting rates that are unjust, unreasonable, discriminatory and unduly preferential, and; 6) a specific portion of the PSC imposition of “zero energy credits” is an abuse of discretion and rationality  in accordance to law.

Judge McDonough ruled that the five remaining petitioners had adequately supported their cause for action for complaints 1-3, 5 and 6 and dismissed their compliant 4 for lack of petitioners’ standing.  

Beyond Nuclear was among the 56 petitioners dismissed from the proceeding.