03.07.22

SCHUMER REVEALS: INDIAN POINT’S SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES FACING MILLIONS IN POST-SHUTDOWN ECONOMIC LOSS YET LIFELINE FEDERAL PROGRAM STILL ISN’T PERMANENT; SCHUMER LAUNCHES EFFORT TO FULLY AUTHORIZE THE NUCLEAR CLOSURE COMMUNITIES PROGRAM AND PROVIDE A NEW INFUSION OF FUNDS TO HELP RECOVER FROM THE CLOSURE OF INDIAN POINT

Communities Around Indian Point Lost Millions In Tax Revenue And Over 1,000 Local Jobs Following Its Decommissioning

Schumer’s Plan Would Provide A New Round Of Funding To Create New Jobs And Opportunities To Rebuild Local Economy In Areas That Lose Nuclear Power Plants Like The Village Of Buchanan, Town of Cortlandt, And Westchester County

Schumer: Feds Must Invest In And Reinvigorate Indian Point Communities Struggling After Plant Closure

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today launched a major push for the Hudson Valley communities surrounding the Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC) to deliver critical federal assistance to help offset the devastating economic impacts following the closure of the nuclear power plant. Schumer announced his two-pronged plan for federal economic development investment, including making permanent the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Assistance to Nuclear Closure Communities (NCC) program as part of the upcoming EDA reauthorization and providing a new round of funding for the NCC program in the Fiscal Year 2022 omnibus appropriations bill that is currently being negotiated. Schumer explained that this federal funding provides support to communities, like those in Westchester County, that are experiencing job loss and other negative economic impacts as the result of the closure of a nuclear power plant, offering much-needed investment to expand workforce development and re-employment initiatives and launch new businesses and redevelopment of local economies. The senator said this will create new jobs and will provide an infusion of support to help make up for budget shortfalls after suffering tremendous revenue loss following the loss of a major employer like a nuclear power plant.

“For the Village of Buchanan, Town of Cortlandt, Westchester County, and the broader Hudson Valley region, the closure of the Indian Point nuclear power plant has meant the loss of one of the area’s largest employers, displacing 1,100 workers from their jobs and eliminating a revenue source for critical services in the impacted communities. This devastating loss, coupled with the added economic challenges brought on by the pandemic, has created a perfect storm that could impact the growth of these areas for generations, and to help respond to this crisis, I am launching a major push to increase federal support to rebuild the local economy and create new jobs and local revenue to recover from the closure of Indian Point,” said Senator Schumer. “The Assistance to Nuclear Closure Communities program is a lifeline for places like Westchester County, and I am fighting tooth and nail to ensure this program receives a new round of funding so assistance will be available to help the region create new opportunities and recover.” 

Schumer added, “That is why I am also pushing to make the NCC program permanent in the upcoming reauthorization of the Economic Development Administration to ensure that our New York communities and areas across the nation that have been impacted by these closures have access to long-term federal investment.”

Schumer, working with former Congresswoman and House Appropriations Committee Chair, Nita Lowey, helped create the EDA’s NCC program in the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bill. The NCC program provides grants to communities impacted by a nuclear power plant closure for early-stage planning activities for economic recovery, public works (construction) investments, and economic diversification initiatives. In 2020, Schumer and Lowey successfully secured for the Town of Cortlandt a $3.2 million EDA grant through the NCC program for an economic diversification initiative in preparation for the closure of Indian Point. While the NCC program has received funds through the annual appropriations process, it has not been authorized as a permanent program, causing uncertainty for communities like those impacted by the closure of Indian Point as to whether funds will be available for the long-term rebuilding required following the loss of such a major employer. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is expected to consider reauthorizing the Economic Development Administration later this spring.

“Permanent authorization and increased funding for the Nuclear Closure Communities program will be crucial for the Village of Buchanan as we look to upgrade our infrastructure and replace our tax base following Indian Point’s shutdown. Buchanan feels very strongly that we should be compensated for being a de facto storage facility of nuclear waste for the department of energy,” said Buchanan Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker. “We thank Senator Schumer for pushing to make this happen in the federal budget this year and look forward to continuing to work with him and restore this financial loss to Buchanan long-term.”

"The closure of Indian Point resulted in the loss of one of  Westchester’s largest employers who contributed millions to our property tax base and millions more in economic output. Seeing a problem that needed to be fixed, Senator Schumer and our other federal representatives were quick to work with us to find ways to create more high-paying jobs in the STEM field to make up for this tremendous loss. Creating a permanent program within the U.S. Economic Development Agency will give communities, like ours, facing nuclear power plant closures a much-needed shot in the arm to their local economies. We thank Senator Schumer and all of our federal partners for their continued work and leadership on this,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer.

"The federal funds and assistance provided by the Nuclear Closures Communities program will be a lifeline for the Town of Cortlandt as we look to offset the lost jobs and tax revenue associated with Indian Point’s shutdown. This will help Cortlandt by improving our infrastructure to attract new companies to the area and create jobs,” said Town of Cortlandt Supervisor Richard Becker. “We thank Senator Schumer for pushing to make this a permanent program as we work to diversify and grow our local economy in the years to come.” 

In a letter to House and Senate Appropriators, Schumer explained that Indian Point was one of Westchester County’s largest taxpayers, bringing in roughly $32 million in annual property tax revenue to Buchanan, Cortlandt, the Hendrick Hudson School District, and Westchester County. Schumer said that making available in the omnibus appropriations bill the highest funding level possible for federal assistance for communities facing nuclear power plant closures is essential as the communities surrounding Indian Point continue to confront unprecedented economic challenges. According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, each year Indian Point generated roughly $1.3 billion in economic output for the surrounding Hudson Valley region and $1.6 billion for New York State.  During the height of its operation, Indian Point was one of the largest and highest-paying employers in Westchester County with an annual payroll of approximately $140 million.

Schumer has a long history of fighting for the Hudson Valley communities impacted by the Indian Point closure. After hearing from Buchanan, Cortlandt, and Westchester County regarding the negative economic consequences of Unit 3’s April 30, 2021 closure, in August of 2021, Senator Schumer hosted a briefing workshop with EDA officials from Washington focused on how local governments could apply for the NCC program funding and access additional technical assistance.

Currently, Westchester County plans to soon submit an application to the NCC program to bolster its burgeoning biosciences industry in an effort to diversity and rebuild the region’s economy. The Village of Buchanan is also exploring development opportunities to make up for a loss of over 50 percent of their local revenue and over 1,100 good-paying, local jobs that can make use of the long-term federal commitment that Schumer is pushing for by permanently authorizing the NCC program.

A copy of Schumer’s letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Committee advocating for the inclusion of funding for communities impacted by nuclear plant closures like Indian Point’s in the Fiscal Year 2022 omnibus appropriations bill appears below:

Dear Chairman Leahy, Vice Chairman Shelby, Chairwoman DeLauro, and Ranking Member Granger:

As your Committees begin to reconcile the House and Senate Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bills, I respectfully write to request the highest funding level possible for federal assistance for communities facing nuclear power plant closures through the Economic Development Administration (EDA). Nuclear power plant closures are negatively affecting the economic vitality and stability of local communities nationwide, including in my home state of New York.

In January 2017, Entergy, the owner of the Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC), announced that it would close its operating nuclear plants II and III in the Village of Buchanan, New York, by April 30, 2021, after almost 50 years of operation. The economic burdens associated with nuclear plant closures, including  Indian Point’s, are staggering. Communities around Indian Point are expected to lose over $32 million in annual tax revenue. For the Village of Buchanan—once home to Indian Point—this closure has resulted in a loss of over 50 percent of their local revenue and over 1,100 good-paying, local jobs. Local schools are also suffering, with Hendrick Hudson School District’s operating budget slashed by one-third, a devastating cut of approximately $24 million, as a result of the impact on revenues by the plant’s closure. Without robust educational funding, the economic opportunities for future generations of the area could be severely impacted, starting a downward spiral for the economic success of the region that must be prevented. Unfortunately, these burdens are not unique to New York.

I was proud to work closely with former House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey to create the EDA Nuclear Closure Communities Program in the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bill. These funds have provided critical investment to help rebuild the local economies of communities impacted by recent or scheduled closures of a nuclear power plant. This program has already provided a $3.2 million EDA grant to the Town of Cortlandt, NY for a new educational recreation facility and infrastructure improvements like roads and a water line to generate new jobs and tax revenue to offset losses from the Indian Point closure. However, much, much more investment is needed to recover from the loss of this major regional employer.

As such, continued, bold support from the EDA remains critical to ensuring these communities nationwide receive the economic resources and development needed to thrive. For these reasons, I urge you to ensure the inclusion of the nuclear power plant closure language contained within the Fiscal Year 2022 Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science Report released by the Senate Appropriations Committee as part of the final conference report.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of my request.

Sincerely,

 

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