The struggle over Dunkirk goes on–Sierra Club and a community group known as “Ratepayer and Community Intervenors” have sued to block the deal to keep the Dunkirk plant open. According to an article by David Robinson in the Buffalo News:
The lawsuit contends that the project will require National Grid’s ratepayers to subsidize the project by paying $150 million more than they should in their electric bills over the next 10 years.
The lawsuit contends that the Dunkirk project is needlessly large, with its 435 megawatts of generating capacity being almost three times more than the 150 megawatts of capacity that is needed to maintain the reliability of the power transmission system.
The lawsuit, … also said the project could lead to an increase in air pollution because the power plant still will have the ability to generate electricity using higher polluting coal, rather than being limited to just less-polluting natural gas.
Supporters of the project said it will replace a higher-polluting coal plant with a more modern facility that emits fewer harmful greenhouse gases and will maintain the reliability of the state’s electric grid. The project also will prevent the plant’s mothballing from causing a gaping hole in Dunkirk’s tax base, which could have reduced revenues for the city by 42 percent and the city’s school district by 30 percent.
Tom Reed supports the conversion project; he writes:
“We fought hard alongside Senator Young, Assemblyman Goodell, Mayor Dolce and many other local leaders to keep this plant open. To see an outside group try to shut it down is very disturbing. These people are threatening local jobs and local taxpayers. Chautauqua County, the City of Dunkirk, and the Dunkirk City School District will be devastated if outsiders are allowed to close this plant. Jobs will be lost and our local taxpayers will be left quite literally to pay the bill. We will continue fighting to keep these jobs despite extreme environmentalists trying to tell us what to do.”
Tom fails to mention that the Sierra Club and “Community Intervenors” are not entirely “outside groups,” that local school financing and jobs in the Dunkirk area should not be a major reason for power plant citing, that taxpayers will pay for converting the plant to burn gas as well as for the higher operating cost of the obsolete Dunkirk plant, and that the “deal” is a win for the owners of the plant.
© William Hungerford – September 2014