To the editor:
Thanks to our nuclear power plants, greenhouse gas emissions from New York’s electric generating plants are just one forth per capita of what is produced on average across the United States.
The plants annually avoid an astonishing 16 million tons of carbon emissions that would be released into the air we breathe if we relied on fossil-burning plants. Implementation of the state’s clean energy standard, which allows continued operation of the upstate plants, largely preserve this.
The loss in just a few years of Indian Point’s 2,000 megawatts of clean, emission-free power, however, should be no consolation for environmentalists who truly support clean air and climate change goals, but ironically are celebrating the plant’s closure.
Where will the power come from? How do we replace the plant’s 2,000 megawatts without affecting air quality and driving up electricity costs? How do we ensure the air we breathe remains as clean or is cleaner than it is today?
Our youth and elderly in the downstate urban areas already suffer disproportionately from asthma and other respiratory illnesses, which will worsen during the summer months ahead. Indian Point’s closure would intensify those impacts if we don’t plan accordingly.
At least for now, an operating Indian Point will bring some relief this summer, but let’s not be fooled. Fossil fueled plants will be needed to replace Indian Point, and if we’re not careful, they may end up right here in the Bronx.
The author is the president of SHARE-New York (safe, healthy, affordable, reliable electricity), a coalition of businesses, clergy and community leaders in New York City.