DUNKIRK, N.Y. -- While the Public Service Commission weighs competing proposals regarding the NRG power plant in Dunkirk, Senator Charles Schumer is now joining other elected officials in calling for the plant to be switched over to a natural gas facility.
Schumer said at a news conference near the plant that the only viable option is to keep the plant open. If it closes, Schumer said it would be "devastating to the Dunkirk and regional economy."
The other option, prepared by National Grid, is to instead upgrade transmission lines to bring in power from elsewhere. That would result in a near shutdown of the Dunkirk plant.
A National Grid spokesperson said the PSC asked the company to come up with the transmission plan, which he said would be cheaper and therefore save Upstate ratepayers money. He added that it was NRG's decision to close the plant to begin with, and it simply came up with a way to "maintain transmission reliability."
State Senator Cathy Young, who has spearheaded the effort to keep the NRG plant open, said the National Grid proposal would connect transmission lines locally to a coal-burning power plant in Homer City, Pennsylvania, which is one of the dirtiest in the entire country.
"We need to make sure that the NRG plant is re-powered, because we need that safe, reliable, clean, local source of power right here in Dunkirk," Senator Young said.
The National Grid spokesperson said the company did not propose importing the power from Homer City.
The PSC is still accepting public comments. You can submit your thoughts until August 16. The PSC will make its decision sometime in the next few months.