Environmental Progress (EP) has learned that two top former aides to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo worked with a major Cuomo campaign contributor, the natural gas company Competitive Power Ventures, to close Indian Point nuclear plant.
The New York Times reported today that Indian Point's operator had agreed to close the plant, bowing to intense pressure from Cuomo.
Mention of the episode is an a federal criminal indictment filed by Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, on September 22, 2016.
"Based on my review of publicly available documents and my interviews of witnesses," wrote the US attorney, "including employees of [Competitive Power Ventures], the importance of the [CPV Valley Energy Center] to the State depended at least in part, on whether [Indian Point] was going to be shut down."
The indictment suggests that Competitive Power Ventures and the Cuomo administration both recognized that if Indian Point were taken off line, it would be replaced by natural gas, not imported hydro and wind, as an anonymous source told the New York Times.
The Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) donated $75,000 to Cuomo in 2009, and made bribes to Cuomo's top aide, according to U.S. Attorney in New York, starting in 2010.
CPV Valley Energy Center is a 650-megawatt, natural-gas power plant in Wawayanda, New York. It was seeking a $100 million, 15 year power purchase agreement.
"As early as 2010, [former Gov. Andrew Cuomo aide Todd R.] Howe began to seek [Cuomo aide Joseph] Percoco's assistance in influencing the Former State Operations Director with respect to the Power Plant, most specifically by asking Percoco to advise the Former State Operations Director that the Power Plant was supported by labor unions and to advocate for the closing of [Indian Point]."
In 2010, Cuomo accepted a minimum of $140,000 in donations from energy companies — likely a fraction of what he received from associated law firms and engineering firms with an interest in his energy decisions.