Erik McGregor Photography

Erik McGregor is a New York City based artist, photographer and activist.

The Art Of The Bad Deal: Renewable energy advocates rally outside Governor Cuomo’s office over his $7.6 billion nuclear power plant bailout



NEW YORK, NY – Renewable energy advocates rallied outside Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Manhattan office on May 17, 2017; to tell him that New Yorkers won’t stand for his nuclear bailout plan, which is expected to cost ratepayers $7.6 billion over the next 12 years. 
Stop the Cuomo Tax is a grassroots campaign led by Food & Water Watch and New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG). 

In addition to members of Stop the Cuomo Tax and everyday New Yorkers upset about Cuomo’s bailout, the noon protest also included Statewide Senior Action Council, Alliance for Quality Education, New York Communities for Change, United for Action and the New York Public Interest Research Group’s Straphangers Campaign.

Many of the protesters carried signs comparing Cuomo to President Donald Trump, including some posters mocking Trump’s famous “Art of the Deal” book by swapping Trump’s face for Cuomo’s  on the front cover. A photo of those posters is attached.

Blair Horner, executive director of New York Public Interest Group and a leader in the Stop The Cuomo Tax campaign, said, “Gov. Cuomo, this is not a good plan. If you don’t believe me – look at the Illinois bailout. It’s $4.3 billion cheaper. Go back to the drawing board, and come up with a solution that doesn’t hose New Yorkers, saves ratepayers money, and prioritizes renewable energy sources instead of outdated nukes.”

“New York City’s subways are in crisis, with more frequent car breakdowns, overcrowding, and delays that have more than doubled in the past five years alone. Yet the Governor seems to be more concerned with securing $7.6 billion to bail out three upstate nuclear plants, and is asking public authorities, including the MTA, to help foot the bill,” said Jaqi Cohen, Campaign Coordinator for the Straphangers Campaign. 


“Too many of us have trouble paying our utility bills already and now Governor Cuomo is raising our rates by almost $8 billion to fund a giant giveaway to Exelon. This a deal designed for a billionaire like Donald Trump to love. It’s time for Governor Cuomo to reverse his bailout for his corporate friends at our expense,” said Renata Pumarol Deputy Director of New York Communities for Change. 

“According to the latest NYS Elder Economic Security Index, over 60 percent of senior citizens are not making ends meet in the state of New York.  Any extra burden placed on what is quickly becoming 25 percent of the population of this state is untenable.  Bailing out multi-billion dollar corporations on the backs of older New Yorkers who are struggling every day to literally keep the lights on in their homes goes against the policies that the governor is promoting to make New York state the first Age Friendly state in the nation,” said Maria Alvarez, executive director of the Statewide Senior Action Council. 

“I can’t even imagine a world where education gets a $7.6 billion boost. The sad truth is, in the world that we live in, only corporate fat cats get that kind of money. That’s why I am proud to stand with the Campaign to Stop the Cuomo Tax to protest this horrible waste of money,” said Maria Bautista campaigns director for Alliance for Quality Education. 


Edie Kantrowitz, with the policy group United for Action, said, “Why should we have to pay $7.6 billion so that Exelon, a Chicago-based corporation, can continue to make profits?  It’s clear that New York State should be focusing on solar, wind, and other renewable resources for its energy future, not nuclear power which endangers our safety and health.  We say NO to continuing this bailout.”

Alex Beauchamp, Northeast Region Director of Food & Water Watch and a leader in the Stop The Cuomo Tax campaign, said, “I was mad before, but after the last hearing – in which Cuomo administration officials said they didn’t know how much profit Exelon was making off this bailout – I’m beyond outraged. I guess when it’s not your money, you don’t really care if you’re getting the best deal. We’re here today to show Cuomo whose money it is, and that we do care.”

BACKGROUND: The $7.6 billion bailout is part of Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard, which calls for New York to get 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. Members of Stop The Cuomo Tax support expanding renewable energy, but question the wisdom of forcing ratepayers to pay $7.6 billion to prop up the nuclear plants. In addition, the entire process by which the bailout was approved has been shrouded in secrecy, a failure in transparency that a host of good government groups has called deeply troubling. A recent analysis  conducted for the New York Public Interest Research Group found the bailout will cost public institutions an estimated $112 million a year, including $11.6 million a year for the MTA, $4.2 million for the New York City school system and $1.31 million for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

#Activism #AndrewCuomo #cleanenergy #Cuomo #CuomoTax #demonstration #DivestNY #EnergyDemocracy #energyefficiency #environment #EnvironmentalJustice #GovernorCuomo #NewYork #NoNuclearBailout #NuclearPowerPlant #NuclearWaste #NYC #PeacefulProtest #Pollution #radiation #rally #RenewableEnergy

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