FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from Southwest Michigan Group, Michigan Chapter, Sierra Club
Contact: Roger Taylor, Communications Chair,
January 12, 2017
Sierra Club Southwest Michigan Group Supports Palisades Shutdown
Environmental group strongly opposes bailout, favors programs to support workers.
KALAMAZOO – Sierra Club Southwest Michigan Group’s Executive Committee passed a resolution expressing strong support for the decision to permanently close the Palisades Nuclear Generating Station in Covert Township, Michigan.
The closure decision was announced last month by Entergy Corporation, Palisades’ Louisiana-based owner-operator. The December announcement followed completion of negotiations between Entergy and Palisades’ only customer, Consumers Energy. The companies agreed to terminate the power purchase agreement established in 2007 when Consumers sold Palisades to Entergy. The agreement, originally scheduled to last until 2022, will end four years early, in October, 2018.
The Sierra Club resolution enumerates the circumstances that made closing the plant financially advantageous for both companies and for Consumers’ customers. Spokespersons for Consumers say the shutdown will save their ratepayers $172 million, and that “energy reliability and affordability will not be affected.” A costly refueling shutdown, originally scheduled for October 2018, will become a money-saving permanent shutdown.
Pre-emptively opposing a possible bailout, Sierra Club’s resolution says that “officials and legislators must neither offer nor consider providing financial assistance…to keep Palisades operating or to cover decommissioning.” By regulation, before any nuclear plant opens, it must establish a fund that will eventually pay for its own decommissioning.
Bailouts of failing nuclear plants in Illinois and New York, says the resolution, have cost taxpayers and utility customers about $2.2 billion per plant. Rather than bailing out a failing business run by an out-of-state energy conglomerate, local Sierra Club officers urge Michigan officials to support newly unemployed Palisades workers at a tiny fraction of the cost of a bailout.
“No bailout for a business failure,” said Roger Taylor, who chairs the organization’s communications committee. “Instead, we should reward success! We all owe the dedicated and knowledgable Palisades work crew an enormous debt of gratitude for keeping us safe all these years, in spite of everything.” The resolution cites media coverage of allegations of mismanagement by Entergy and oversight failures by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The resolution also highlights the nuclear energy industry’s eternal and intractable problem: “Convincing arguments abound against continued production and stockpiling of dangerous high-level nuclear waste at Palisades and elsewhere, as U.S. officials have developed no workable plan for safe and permanent disposal.”
Sierra Club’s Southwest Michigan Group, an affiliate of Sierra Club’s Michigan Chapter, has nearly 1400 members in nine Southwest Michigan counties. The Sierra Club is the nation’s oldest, largest, and most effective grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.7 million members and supporters. Our mission is to explore, enjoy, and protect the planet.