Proving there is strength in numbers, elected officials, business owners, union representatives and members of the community jammed the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 21 meeting hall in Peekskill to the rafters Thursday (March 2) night for a public hearing on the closure of Indian Point. The hearing, hosted by Senator Terrence Murphy, who represents the area directly impacted by the closure, featured nearly 20 speakers who provided information and informed opinions about the effect losing Indian Point will have on the community.
"Governor Cuomo and Entergy made a clandestine deal to close the plant without informing the people they serve," said Senator Murphy. "The lack of transparency, lack of information and the absence of an exit strategy is inexcusable. Shutting down Indian Point will put more than a thousand skilled laborers out of work, which will have a ripple effect on local economies. It will drastically cut critically needed funding for the Hendrick Hudson School District and raise serious issues concerning security and the plant decommissioning process. In short, their hasty decision will leave Peekskill, Cortlandt, Buchanan and the entire region in shambles."
"My concerns as a labor leader are many: As you have heard from Labor leaders on this panel- The loss of over 1000 plus jobs is devastating to these men and women and their families. It will be very difficult to replace these highly skilled workers back into a field that is slowly dying out," said Tom Carey, President, Westchester-Putnam Central Labor Body AFL-CIO. "These people rooted themselves into this community to raise families and send their children to good schools. Many of these workers have become civic leaders, making their neighborhoods something to be proud of. These are the people that represent the workers at Entergy. They deserve better! These people are not looking for a handout, but a hand up!"
Deb Milone, Executive Director, Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce stated, "On January 9, the state took credit for closing Indian Point. Now the state needs to provide resources so that local leaders can utilize the services of experts in economic development and evaluate the situation, and then develop a comprehensive plan and take action."
Senator Murphy, Senator Thomas Croci and Senator Joseph Griffo, who serves as Chairman of the State Energy Committee, served as moderators. Presenters at the hearing included: Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Michael Kaplowitz; Buchanan Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker; Louis Picani, President, Teamsters Local 456; Frank Palen, President, UA Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 21; Craig Dickson, Business Agent, Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2; Florence McCue, At-Large Director, New York State United Teachers; and Dennis Malles, President, Montrose Business Association.
Senator Murphy made a point of asking all of the speakers if the Governor's office had contacted them prior to or since the announcement to close the plant had been made. Only one speaker said yes, adding credence to the Senator's assertion that Governor Cuomo had made the decision to close Indian Point without getting any input from local communities.