Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino said his lawsuits against the state over the closure of Indian Point are designed to protect the health, safety, and pocketbooks of nine million New Yorkers.
Astorino announced at a press conference in White Plains on Tuesday he is filing two lawsuits over the Buchanan-based nuclear power plant's closure, claiming the deal to close Indian Point violated the State Environmental Quality Review Act.
In January, Entergy, which owns Indian Point said it was closing down the plant in 2020 and 2021, saying it was no longer economically viable to remain open.
"If our environmental laws are to mean anything, then surely they must apply to the closing of a nuclear power plant that affects the lives and livelihoods of nine million New Yorkers," Astorino said. "If ever there was a case for the State Environmental Quality Review Act to be enforced, this is it.”
If successful, the lawsuit would invalidate the agreement to close Indian Point until a full environmental review is conducted.
Astorino said the state failed to look into whether sufficient energy sources would be available when Indian Point closed, the potential economic hardship of increased electric bills and the economic impact the loss of thousands of jobs would have.
·"Even those who applaud the closing of Indian Point should be deeply concerned about how it is being done and the environmental and economic aftershocks to come,” said Astorino.
The first lawsuit, challenging the Closure Agreement brokered between the state, Entergy and Riverkeeper, was filed Tuesday. The second lawsuit, which faults the state's actions in issuing a water quality permit, was filed Tuesday but does not have to be finalized until August.
Astorino, who ran against Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014, has remained a fierce critic of the governor and is considering running against him again next year.
Astorino said the lawsuit will have no cost to the county unless approved by the Board of Legislators. County legislators decided not to go forward with the suit at Monday's board meeting.
Legislator Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining) criticized the lawsuit, calling it unwinnable and frivolous.
“The County Executive’s political ambitions are clearly more important to him than the taxpayers of Westchester," Borgia said. Any unilateral attempt to use outside counsel on behalf of the taxpayers is in violation of our county’s charter. The surrounding communities are better served by bringing all sides together to work on real economic and environmental mitigation solutions, and that is what Democrats are focused on.”