Wed October 19, 2011

Fight Over Nuclear Plant Draws N.Y. Political Heavies

Originally published on Wed October 19, 2011 1:21 pm

The nuclear power plant at Indian Point in Buchanan, N.Y., is seen with the Hudson River in the foreground. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's stated resolve to close Indian Point has sparked a debate about the energy outlook for metropolitan New York.

Seth Wenig AP

New York's political titans are clashing over the future of a controversial nuclear plant north of New York City.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to close the aging Indian Point nuclear plant because of safety concerns. But the plant, which wants to extend its original licenses for another 20 years, has some powerful allies of its own.

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Tue October 18, 2011
Morning trail mix

Road tripping to Canada, and Albany bans fracking

mary_thompson via Flickr

First, a note about something we're really excited about: the Innovation Trail's Emma Jacobs is heading to Canada to investigate the across-the-border roots of much of New York's hydropower - from Quebec, to Prince Edward Island, all the way up to Labrador!

Join her on the road by following her on Twitter.

Next, your Trail Mix:

Albany bans fracking.

PEF gets its deal to avoid layoffs, but now has to vote yes.

The race to be New York City's engineering school heats up.

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Mon October 17, 2011
Reporter's notebook: Road trip

Following New York's power lines to Canada

Here's the route the Innovation Trail will be taking to travel to where the power lines end: New York to Quebec, to Newfoundland & Labrador, and back.
Generated using Travelerspoint

You can’t really talk about power in New York State without talking about Canada.

In 2009, New York produced only 13 percent of what’s referred to as its “primary energy requirements.”  The rest of it - the gas in your car, the coal and natural gas that our power plants burn, the uranium for our nuclear reactors, the power we import directly into our grid - came from somewhere else.

That last part is where Canada fits in. Most of our imported electricity comes from Canadian hydroelectric dams. 

All in all, Canadian hydro accounts for just under six percent of power in New York’s grid [PDF]. In 2010, New York imported almost 3 million megawatt hours [PDF] from Canada, at a cost of about a half a billion dollars.

But that Canadian hydro isn’t without controversy. 

Here in the U.S., former governor Mario Cuomo canceled a huge contract with Hydro Quebec in the 1990s following pressure from Native American and environmental activists. And now there’s a new wave of plants set to come online, with $50 billion worth of construction slated for the provinces of Quebec, and Newfoundland & Labrador, alone.

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Mon October 17, 2011
Marcellus Shale

Cortland clerk fights abusive gas leasing practices

Cortland County Clerk Elizabeth Larkin with a folder of gas drilling leases. Larkin has been turning away gas company documents she doesn't believe have been drafted correctly.
Emma Jacobs WRVO

Elizabeth Larkin's a stickler for the letter of the law. That's made her a bulwark against abusive land leasing practices.

Larkin is Cortland's county clerk, and like others across the state, is one of the few people who sees the contracts made between drilling companies and landowners. Leases are considered private contracts, and therefore aren't overseen by any agency at the state level.

As a result, Larkin says she sees companies try to record improper documents all the time, including adding five year extensions to leases that explicitly rule them out.

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Mon October 17, 2011
Morning trail mix

Libous says downstate should butt out on fracking

Marie Cusick WMHT

Today in your Trail Mix:

A pro-drilling politician wants other politicians to keep their opinions about drilling to themselves.

Albany's new wharf make its debut.

Figuring out where to place higher education in the Finger Lakes economic plan.

Plus, Halloween might be on hold in some flood ravaged areas.

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