Astorino Puts Environmental Concerns, Taxpayers on Front Burner of Indian Point Closure

Whether you’re for or against the closure of Indian Point, County Executive Rob Astorino wants to ensure the health, safety and pocketbooks of nine million New Yorkers are protected.

Astorino took the step this week of filing a lawsuit to ensure that any actions to close Indian Point fully comply with the state’s environmental laws, citing numerous breaches resulting from what he described as a “three men in a room” deal to close the plant. The closure was arranged in secret by Governor Cuomo, Riverkeeper and Entergy and failed to meet its obligations to New York State’s Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).

Indian Point provides 25 percent of New York City and Westchester’s electricity supply. Astorino cited the detrimental economic impact the closure would have on Westchester ratepayers and taxpayers. “The poor and senior citizens on fixed incomes will be hit the hardest by higher electricity costs once the plant is closed,” said County Executive Astorino.

Astorino also warned that the plant site, located in the Village of Buchanan, would become a nuclear waste cemetery, with spent radioactive fuel rods stored there for generations.

The state was required by law to file an environmental impact statement prior to its Jan. 9 agreement to close Indian Point. An EIS is meant to provide the public with detailed information about the environmental consequences of the proposal, including social and economic impacts to local communities and the region, and contains both a cost analysis and a range of alternatives.

“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. If ever there was a case for the State Environmental Quality Review Act to be enforced, this is it.”

Astorino posed these questions that demand answers from the state:

Astorino Blasts ‘Hypocrisy’ Of Property Tax Plan

Original article published on The State of Politics blog by Spectrum News on 4/10/17. Article by Nick Reisman. Click here for the original article on Friends of Rob Astorino does not retain copyright.

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino in a radio interview on Monday blasted the plan approved in the 2017-18 state budget that encourages local government consolidation and sharing of services.

“It’s so hypocritical of this governor to order everyone in a room and come up with a plan,” he told Fred Dicker on his Talk-1300 radio show.

The plan approved in the finalized budget is aimed at nudging county government leaders to have local municipalities develop ways of consolidating functions in order to reduce property taxes. A key provision of the initial proposal — the measure be put to voters this year in a referendum — was not included in the final deal.

Instead, county leaders will have to hold public forums on the proposals.

In the interview, Astorino knocked the mandated spending requirements in the budget he says make it harder for local governments to cut costs and keep taxes down.

“It’s all for show,” Astorino said. “From one end of the mouth they’re saying you have to cut costs and consolidate and yet on the other side of the mouth they’re voting on measures to make it harder to do so.”

He added: “It is the height of hypocrisy what the governor did and the Legislature did, too.”

Astorino overall was down on the budget, critical of the plan to provide free tuition to families earning under $125,000 to SUNY and CUNY schools.

“I’m trying to think where we’re going as a state here or if anyone cares,” he said. “The people with incomes are leaving. There is mobility and they’re choosing to get in the moving vans and they’re leaving the state.”

Astorino was the Republican nominee for governor in 2014 and is considering a second run statewide in 2018, but is also running for a third term as county executive this year.

For now, he remains non-committal on his plans for next year.

“Honestly I have no idea. I don’t know where the world is going to be next year,” he said, questioning Cuomo’s political plans as well as the discussions of other Republicans considering campaigns. “It’s so up in the air. It’s always one step at a time.”