Press Release: NYPIRG Addresses Cuomo Tax

Photo courtesy of Eric Wood.

More than 100 Groups Join Growing Campaign to Stop the Cuomo Tax; 25,000+ New Yorkers Sign Up to Oppose Cuomo Tax of Nearly $8 Billion in Increased Utility Rates 

During Statewide Day of Action, New Yorkers Reject Cuomo’s Billions for Planned Nuclear Power Bailout

In Poughkeepsie, a statewide campaign of over 100 organizations on Oct. 27, 2016 urged Gov. Cuomo to pull the plug on his plan to spend billions to bail out aging, unsafe upstate nuclear power plants. At rallies across the state, advocates and consumers mobilized against Cuomo’s costly and increasingly unpopular nuclear bailout plan.

 They called on Cuomo to abandon his controversial and misguided plan to tax New Yorkers nearly $8 billion to bail out a wealthy Chicago-based corporation that runs several failing nuclear power plants in the state. The direct hit to residential consumers alone will be huge, with Con Edison customers’ bills increasing by $700 million, Long Island by $500 million and Niagara Mohawk consumers by $465 million. 

 To dramatize their message, supporters of the Stop the Cuomo Tax campaign delivered an oversized rejected utility bill to the governor’s office in New York City, and held similar events in Albany, Long Island, Poughkeepsie and White Plains. 

Cuomo has directed the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) to insert into New York’s “Clean Energy Standard” a surcharge on utility bills designed to bail out failing nuclear power plants. The Cuomo Tax has nothing to do with clean energy. Instead, it will raise billions to prop up and subsidize three upstate nuclear plants— FitzPatrick, Ginna and Nine Mile Point— that are among the oldest plants still operating in the United States.

 Under the Cuomo Tax, regular New Yorkers will pay more for their utility bills over the next 12 years— from 2017 to 2029— to bail out failing nuclear plants that should be replaced by energy efficiency and truly clean renewable energy. These aging and dangerous plants are losing money and their costs continue to rise the longer they stay open. Plus, more than one million New Yorkers already struggle to pay their utility bills every month.

 The total cost for bailing out the FitzPatrick, Ginna and Nine Mile Point nuclear plants could be nearly $8 billion, according to a new independent analysis from the Public Utility Law Project (PULP), a nonpartisan group that represents and advocates for low-income consumers in utility, telecommunications and energy-related matters.

“New York State’s already overburdened residential ratepayers confront a multi-billion dollar rate hike under Gov. Cuomo’s ‘tax’ to bailout aging, dirty nuclear power plants,” said Eric Wood, Project Coordinator of the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) at the State University of New York, New Paltz.  “The Governor’s secretive process puts New Yorkers’ wallets in jeopardy.  He should pull the plug on this misguided plan and send the Public Service Commission back to the drawing board to focus on energy efficiency and 21st Century energy technologies, so that New Yorkers can save money, end reliance on fossil fuels, and put nuclear power where it belongs-— in the dust bin of history.”

“Clearwater opposes the nuclear subsidy included in the NYS Public Service Commission’s Clean Energy Standard, because nuclear power is far from clean in its mining, milling transportation, use and storage.  Nuclear plants emit radioactivity into the air, water and ground through planned and unplanned releases,” noted Manna Jo Greene, Environmental Director for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. “This mandatory 12-year subsidy means that ratepayer dollars that should be going to scale up renewables and energy efficiency are being used to bail out aging, unprofitable and dangerous nuclear plants, which will continue to generate highly radioactive nuclear waste for which there is no safe storage.”

“New Yorkers want and deserve clean, renewable, affordable energy. Investing in wind, solar and energy efficiency consistently provides a better bang for our buck, creating more well-paid jobs and keeping energy costs down. We demand a just transition for upstate communities by the plants. They should be full beneficiaries of the new, clean energy economy” – Michael Tierney, SUNY New Paltz Divestment Committee and Environmental Task Force

“Although the process of creating nuclear energy does not produce high levels greenhouse gases, it is by no means a friend to the environment and public health. There are three main waste streams that come along with this process; spent fuel, mining waste, and waste from accidents like Fukushima in Japan” – Billie Golan, New Paltz Climate Action Coalition 

About Stop The Cuomo Tax:

Stop the Cuomo Tax is a grassroots campaign led by Food & Water Watch and the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG). To learn more, please visit