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Buchanan Mayor Shocked By Indian Point's Closure

Theresa Knickerbocker.
Theresa Knickerbocker. Photo Credit: Contributed

BUCHANAN, N.Y. -- In one afternoon, Buchanan Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker found out that 46 percent of her tax base was leaving town.

The Village of Buchanan is home to Indian Point, a nuclear power plant that announced on Jan. 9 that it would be closing its two units in 2020 and 2021. Entergy, the company that owns Indan Point, said the plant was no longer economically viable for the plant to remain open.

The closures come after Entergy reached a settlement agreement with New York State.

Knickerbocker, like all of Westchester's elected officials, was kept in the dark about the plant's closure. She found out when a resident alerted her to an article in the New York Times on Jan. 6. Ten days after the plant confirmed the closure, Knickerbocker said she still has a lot of questions for the state.

"There's no answers," Knickerbocker said. "I have asked for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to meet with us and talk to us but have gotten no word back. None of the other public officials have heard back. We all have lots of questions."

The mayor said it was disappointing that she was not at the table when Entergy and the state reached their agreement to close the plant. 

"We are the largest stakeholder in this," Knickerbocker said. "A lot of people are going to be impacted. The whole thing could've been handled a lot better."

Knickerbocker said 46 percent of the village's estimated $6 million budget comes from a PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) agreement with Entergy for Indian Point. The village was in its third year of a 10-year agreement.

"That's a huge concern," Knickerbocker said.

The Buchanan Village Board has been meeting to discuss what the village can do moving forward with the 235-acre site.

"I'm not sure any of that can be redeveloped," Knickerbocker said. "There's no place to put the spent fuel rods."

Knickerbocker is also concerned about the loss of 1,000 jobs and how much electricity will increase. 

"I don't know what the governor's plan B is," Knickerbocker said. "Can we make lemonade out of lemons- can we make lemonades out of spent nuclear rods? Can we all come together and figure this out?" 

Knickerbocker said she plans to meet with another community that saw a nuclear power plant close next week to pick their brain and see what they would've done differently. 

Entergy was a good corporate neighbor, Knickerbocker said. Despite calls from environmental organizations to close the plant, Knickerbocker said residents didn't mind being home to a nuclear power plant.

"Entergy runs a very tight operation there," Knickerbocker said. "We weren't concerned about it."

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