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More than 120 groups push NY to lift broad nuclear subsidies

James A. Fitzpatrick nuclear plant in Scriba (CNYCentral File Photo)

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Some 130 environmental groups are taking aim at New York's nuclear subsidies.

The coalition, led by the Alliance for a Green Economy, wrote to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday urging him to overhaul the subsidies so New Yorkers who would prefer cleaner forms of energy can opt out. Groups including Earthjustice, the Sierra Club and Food and Water Watch signed on to the letter.

Under a two-year-old policy, New York utility customers pay extra each month to support aging upstate nuclear plants. The subsidy could raise as much as $7.6 billion over several years.

The James A. Fitzpatrick nuclear plant in Scriba, in Oswego County, was in danger of closing in 2016 just before the state announced it would subsidize the plants.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry toured the plant with Rep. John Katko last week, where the issue of subsidies came up. Katko said he disagrees with Cuomo at times but applauded his effort to keep the FitzPatrick plant open.

"It was a great move for the environment, it was a great move for the economy and it's going to pay dividends for years, if not decades, to come," Katko said.

RELATED | U.S. secretary of energy visits Fitzpatrick nuclear plant in Oswego County

Critics say consumers shouldn't have to support a hazardous industry when cleaner sources of power exist.

State officials say the subsidies will prevent nuclear facilities from being replaced by plants that run on fossil fuels.

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