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Posts Tagged ‘Cuomo’
August 17th, 2018 at 9:41 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Cuomo
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

June 16th, 2017 at 12:32 pm
N.Y. State Senator Flanagan Fights Gov. Cuomo’s Crony Capitalist Green Energy Subsidy Boondoggle
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There’s additional reason for optimism amid the ongoing battle against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s crony-capitalist green energy subsidy boondoggle that CFIF has been monitoring since last summer.

Cuomo’s “Clean Energy Standard” (CES) scheme mandates that fully half of all state energy be generated by carbon-neutral plants in just over a decade.  Alarmingly, it comes at a cost of $1 billion in just its first two years, and $8 billion over its entire term.  Making matters worse, it amounts to crony capitalism because all of the CES subsidies would go to a single company named Exelon, owner of the financially unsustainable upstate nuclear plants.  And conspicuously, the plan was approved by a Power Service Commission (PSC) composed entirely of members selected by Cuomo.

Opposition to the boondoggle is bipartisan, and even environmental groups have attacked it as an “$8 billion bailout of three upstate nuclear power plants.”

And who would pay?  New York consumers.

But now, Republican state senator John Flanagan has proposed an alternative funding mechanism, one that would spare pressed taxpayers from paying through the nose to sustain failing nuclear energy plants at the center of the controversial program, as reported by Politico:

‘The state already devotes substantial resources to clean energy, and we are supporting of many of those initiatives,’ said Flanagan spokesman Scott Reif.  ‘We believe that this can be funded through existing resources, and not on the backs of ratepayers.’

Flanagan’s proposal retains the subsidy for nuclear plants, which has strong support from upstate members of his conference who represent districts in which the plants are located.  At the same time, it lessens the impact on ratepayers of the subsidy, including those in Flanagan’s district on Long Island who are still paying for the shuttered Shoreham nuclear plant.

It would also gut a key part of Cuomo’s ambitious renewable energy plan, of which the nuclear subsidy is a component.  Cuomo officials have touted the subsidy, which pays the owner of the nuclear plants based on the social cost of carbon avoided by the zero-emissions attribute of the plants, as a bridge to renewable energy sources, ensuring that the plants aren’t replaced with fossil fuel generators.

Flanagan’s measure eliminates that portion of the Clean Energy Standard and requires ratepayers to get a refund.”

CFIF applauds Flanagan’s leadership in highlighting how Cuomo’s Solyndra-like green energy bailout is a costly loser for New York state ratepayers.  Now it’s up to both the New York House and Senate to resolve this matter before its session ends next week.

June 2nd, 2017 at 4:46 pm
PSC Confirmation Hearing Offers New York State Senators Opportunity to Demand Answers and Changes to Cuomo’s “Clean Energy Standard” Boondoggle
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Since its inception last August, CFIF has been exposing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s crony-capitalist, costly, climate alarmist “Clean Energy Standard” (CES) boondoggle imposed by the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) composed entirely of his personal appointees.

Now, there’s a perfect opportunity for state senators to hold Cuomo accountable and expose for state residents the unfairness, expense and tawdry cronyism of the entire crumbling program.

By way of refresher, Cuomo’s CES scheme mandates that fully half of all state energy be generated by carbon-neutral plants in just over a decade.  The cost?  A whopping $1 billion in just its first two years, and $8 billion over its entire term.  And how is it a perfect example of crony capitalism, which can rot our democratic process?  Well, because the CES plan’s subsidies will go to a single company named Exelon, which owns financially unsustainable upstate nuclear plants.  The plan is so objectionable that opposition has been fierce and bipartisan, with environmental groups attacking it as an “$8 billion bailout of three upstate nuclear power plants.”

Strong stuff.

Next week, however, Cuomo’s nominee for new PSC chairman, John Rhodes, will appear before the state senate’s energy committee as part of his confirmation process.  At that hearing, state senators must hold Cuomo accountable for the CES’s runaway costs to taxpayers, get answers regarding the plan’s failures and demand a commitment to reverse or at least confine costs to areas of the state in which the relevant plants are situated.  Additionally, senators can ask on behalf of taxpayers how it’s remotely fair for residents of Long Island to pay for plants like Shoreham located six or more hours away without burden-sharing from the remainder of the state.  It makes no sense in terms of fairness, cost or efficiency.

Less than a year into this boondoggle, the CES plan is already collapsing.  Accordingly, state senators should get to the core of the problem, demand answers and require mitigation of damages.  Because state taxpayers who will pay the price are watching.

March 3rd, 2017 at 1:14 pm
State Senator in N.Y. Post: “Residents Shouldn’t Have to Pay for Cuomo’s Upstate Nuke Bailout”
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Since last summer, we at CFIF have sounded the alarm regarding a crony capitalist “green” energy boondoggle forced upon New York state residents by Governor Andrew Cuomo and a power commission staffed entirely by his appointees.

The plan imposes an artificial mandate that 50% of all New York power be generated by carbon-free plants in just over a decade, and will cost taxpayers and businesses $1 billion in just its first two years of operation, as well as $8 billion over the course of the scheme.  Making matters worse, the subsidies generated will go to a single company named Exelon that owns all three struggling upstate nuclear plants that will benefit.  Obviously, New York consumers and businesses will pay those costs, which has led even left-leaning environmental leaders to oppose the plan.  Governor Cuomo’s scheme is also the subject of a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on the grounds that it violates the Constitution’s interstate commerce clause and its supremacy clause.

In today’s New York Post, state senator Tony Avella, a Democrat, joins the opposition with a blistering piece entitled “City Residents Shouldn’t Have to Pay for Cuomo’s Upstate Nuke Bailout.”  Among other points, Sen. Avella notes the cost to be paid by residents who won’t even benefit:

There’s a new wrinkle in the quest to power New York that will further drive up our already high utility bills.  It’s both unfair and completely avoidable.  Under a new plan announced last year, the state is adding a surcharge to all utility bills – regardless of whether the person uses gas, oil or a renewable resource, which many people are already paying a premium for.  That surcharge, which will also hit businesses and local governments, will bring an estimated $7.6 billion over the next 12 years.

All of the money will go to Exelon, a Chicago-based Fortune 100 company with annual revenues over $34 billion.  All so the company can prop up three aging nuclear power plants.

That’s not a fair deal for New York taxpayers.  And it’s even more one-sided when you consider the fact that the vast majority of New Yorkers aren’t even getting their power from these old nuclear plants.  Customers with Con Edison, which powers parts of New York City and Westchester, alone will pay $700 million.  So we’re basically paying for something we’ll never use.”

Fortunately, he’s not just complaining about it.  He’s doing something about it:

I recently introduced a bill that would require the state’s Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities, to determine what parts of the state are served by the nuclear power plants, and which ones aren’t.  Communities that don’t get their power from the plants, mostly in downstate areas like New York City, wouldn’t have to pay under my bill.  It’s only fair.”

That’s for sure.  Bit by bit, Gov. Cuomo’s boondoggle is unraveling.  For New York consumers and businesses alike, the sooner it is brought to an end, the better they’ll be.

February 10th, 2017 at 2:49 pm
New York: Even the Albany Times Union Excoriates Gov. Cuomo’s Green Energy Subsidy Boondoggle
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Things are going from bad to worse for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s crony capitalist green energy subsidy boondoggle.

For readers who remain unaware of this catastrophe, last August the state’s Public Service Commission (appointed entirely by Gov. Cuomo himself) rushed through a “Clean Energy Standard” requiring 50% of state power to come from green sources by 2030.  It forces healthy power companies to buy “Zero Emission Credits” from a state bureaucracy, whose proceeds in turn go to struggling upstate plants.  And here’s the kicker.  In addition to costing New York citizens and businesses $1 billion in its first year and an estimated $8 billion over the course of the scheme, all of those subsidies go to plants owned by a single company named Exelon.  In other words, a state-level Solyndra.

The plan is so objectionable that even environmentalists and those on the political left have turned against it, and the Cuomo Administration has already been forced to dramatically scale it back.

Now even the left-leaning Albany Times Union is excoriating this debacle in a new piece entitled “A Surprise Tax on the Way”:

By its own account, 2016 was a ‘monumental year’ for Exelon, for good reason.  It’s not every year that a company gets a $7.6 billion boost courtesy of New Yorkers.

Exelon is slated to reap that windfall over the next 12 years through a fee on just about anyone who gets an electric bill in New York, all to support its nuclear power plants in the state.  That’s an energy tax by any other name, but as a fee levied by a state commission, it has drawn far less attention that, say, an income tax increase of that scale would receive…

One might be tempted to say, fine, let communities make up their own minds about nuclear power, except for this:  The entire state will have to foot the bill for a $7.6 billion economic development program to pay for 2,100 jobs for just a dozen more years and directly enrich one of the nation’s wealthiest power companies.  All this was decided by the governor and three members of the Public Service Commission (which will shortly be down to only two).  Hardly taxation with representation.”

The good news, as the Times Union notes, is that the state legislature can quickly remedy the situation:

Lawmakers, however, will have a chance to take a closer look at this huge corporate subsidy for a company with an annual net income of more than $2 billion…

With the fee due to take effect in April, and the legislature next week scheduled to review the energy and environment portions of the governor’s budget, it’s a good time for lawmakers to consider if this is the best route to a clean energy future, the best way to help upstate communities, and the best use of the public’s money.  They may agree this is a reasonable short-term strategy.  Or they may conclude there are far better investments the state could make in these areas and in clean energy, at far less cost to hard-working New Yorkers.”

For the sake of New York consumers and businesses, hopefully legislators will heed that advice and put an end to a program that has already proven a disaster, and will only get worse if allowed to continue into the next decade.

December 27th, 2016 at 9:02 am
NY Gov. Cuomo Administration Remains Unable to Defend Energy Boondoggle
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In an op-ed published last week at The Daily Caller, CFIF Sr. Vice President Timothy Lee explains how New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Administration remains unable to defend its crony capitalist Clean Energy Standard (CES) against burgeoning bipartisan public opposition.

According to Mr. Lee:

Conspicuously, Cuomo Administration officials remain unable to defend the plan against burgeoning public opposition.  In a recent local television appearance, Cuomo’s Public Service Commission Chair Audrey Zibelman couldn’t justify the decision to provide billions of dollars in subsidies to upstate plants while simultaneously closing downstate plants, and she stubbornly refused to acknowledge the plan’s high costs.

Nuclear power remains a reliable domestic energy source that the United States can cleanly and safely utilize to a far greater extent.

Governor Cuomo’s crony capitalist CES scheme isn’t the way to go about it.  The growing bipartisan opposition movement is an encouraging sign, one that should confirm for New Yorkers of all political leanings that the plan should be rejected.

Read the entire op-ed here.

December 16th, 2016 at 6:54 pm
Empire Center: Gov. Cuomo’s Green Energy CES Boondoggle Already Beginning to Collapse
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For months now we’ve been exposing an inexcusable, costly, climate alarmist, crony capitalist, green energy boondoggle imposed upon New York state citizens by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) composed entirely of his appointees.

Specifically, the PSC rushed through their “Clean Energy Standard” (CES) last August, which requires that 50% of power generated in the state come from carbon-neutral sources by 2030.  The CES works by forcing power companies to buy “Zero Emission Credits” (ZECs) from a state bureaucracy on behalf of financially struggling upstate nuclear energy plants.  In the first two years of the plan alone, the cost is an estimated $1 billion.  For the entire span of the CES scheme, the estimate is approximately $8 billion.

Crony capitalism enters the stage in the sense that those subsidies will benefit Exelon, a single company that owns all of the struggling plants standing to benefit.  Think of it as a state-level Solyndra, with costs ultimately hitting New York businesses and consumers, as usual.

These are just some of the reasons that citizens and groups spanning the political spectrum have spoken out against the scheme.

But there’s positive news to report.  Confronted with the CES’s inherent contradictions and flaws, the Cuomo Administration is already drastically scaling back the plan, as reported by the Empire Center:

The State Public Service Commission has quietly reduced the amount of renewable energy that utilities will have to purchase next year by 94 percent, according to PSC documents.

In August, as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard, the PSC ordered utilities and others to next year purchase renewable energy credits (RECs) equivalent to 0.6 percent of their electricity usage.  This amounted to a total of 974,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of RECs, which are generated when a renewablee plant such as a solar farm or wind turbine sells power into the electrical grid.  The governor’s ultimate goal is for 50 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewables by 2030, and 2017 was to be the first year in which the PSC incrementally required these ‘load-serving entities’ to financially support increasing amounts of renewable energy.

But in an ‘Order Providing Clarification’ issued on November 17, the 2017 amount was slashed from 974,000 to 56,142 MWh – a 94 percent reduction – after the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) determined few renewables would actually qualify to issue the credits. Load-serving entities will now have to purchase RECs equating to just 0.035 percent of their total usage.”

And just as the costs of the plan ultimately hit New York consumers and businesses, scaling back the plan’s ambitions benefits those consumers and businesses, as the Empire Center notes:  “For starters, the move will collectively save ratepayers $19.4 million in 2017 as utilities and others aren’t forced to buy as many credits as anticipated.”

The entire boondoggle was transparently destined to fail, but even skeptics didn’t anticipate it would begin collapsing under its own weight this quickly.  But New Yorkers shouldn’t relent until the entire CES is consigned permanently to the policy ash heap.

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October 21st, 2016 at 6:19 pm
Crony Capitalist N.Y. Utility Subsidy Boondoggle Now Facing Federal Lawsuit
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So there’s grave new trouble for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s crony-capitalist, climate alarmist utility subsidy boondoggle:  a federal lawsuit.

Since its introduction in August, CFIF has been exposing Cuomo’s “Clean Energy Standard” (CES), a scheme approved by the state of New York’s Public Service Commission made up entirely of his own appointees.  In a nutshell, the CES creates an artificial mandate that 50% of all the state’s energy be generated by carbon-neutral plants just 13 years from now.   At a minimum, the CES will cost $1 billion in its first two years alone, and an estimated $8 billion over its 13-year existence.  And it illustrates the sort of crony capitalism that is all too common at the federal, state and local levels because the plan’s subsidies will be steered toward a single company named Exelon that owns financially struggling upstate nuclear plants.  We have nothing against Exelon in particular, but everything about this scheme smells fishy.  At the end of the day, moreover, the cost of all of this will fall upon New York residents and businesses.

Additionally, the CES program is so manifestly flawed that opposition is bipartisan.  New York environmental groups also attack what they describe as Governor Cuomo’s “$8 billion bailout of three upstate nuclear power plants.”

And now there’s even more grave trouble for CES.

In U.S. District Court, a lawsuit filed this week by the prominent law firm Boies Schiller seeks injunction against the scheme, alleging violation of the Interstate Commerce Clause and federal preemption under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, among other counts:

Several power plant owners sued New York state energy regulators Wednesday over the state’s approval of billions of dollars in subsidies for aging nuclear plants.  The suit filed in Manhattan federal court argues the bailout represents an illegal interference with the federal government’s role in regulating electric rates, and will unfairly burden the ratepayers who will pay for the subsidies, which could cost nearly $8 billion over 12 years.  ‘This is a bad deal for New Yorkers, who will see their electric bills go up across the state,’ said Jonathan Schiller, whose firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner is representing the plaintiffs…  ‘This subsidy will cost New Yorkers as much as $7.6 billion in payments to a single company.  This is illegal.'”

We’ll be monitoring and updating this lawsuit as events develop, but it presents another mortal threat to the CES plan.

And justifiably so.  Although we continue to support nuclear power as an energy source that should be exploited by the U.S. on the basis of both efficiency and national security, Governor Cuomo’s crony capitalist boondoggle is simply an unacceptable way to do it.  It’s not by accident that opposition is bipartisan, and now under judicial threat as well.

January 23rd, 2014 at 9:02 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Statue of Bigotry
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.