Two central New York congressmen hope Entergy and state officials will continue to work to keep the James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant open, despite the company's announcement Monday that it plans to close the facility by early 2017.
In a joint statement Monday, U.S. Reps. Richard Hanna and John Katko said they're "incredibly disappointed" to learn of the decision to close the FitzPatrick nuclear plant in Scriba, which has been in operation since 1975 and has more than 600 employees.
"As our community moves forward, we will do everything that we can to support FitzPatrick employees, their families, local leaders and all of Oswego County," the congressmen said. "There is no question that the plant's closure would be a huge loss to our region."
Hanna, R-Barneveld, and Katko, R-Camillus, both have parts of Oswego County in their districts. The FitzPatrick nuclear plant is located in the 24th Congressional District, which Katko represents.
The duo attended a rally to save the plant and sent a letter to the New York State Public Service Commission explaining why closing FitzPatrick would hurt the local economy.
Entergy said Monday that it was in negotiations with the state to try and keep FitzPatrick open, but an agreement couldn't be reached and the company went ahead with plans to close the facility.
Hanna and Katko urged Entergy to provide more details about its discussions with the state. They also want both sides to continue negotiations to avoid the plant's closure.
"Absent a solution, our hope is that the company and the state will do everything possible to mitigate the challenges faced by the community," they said.
Entergy said the plant will shut down when the current fuel cycle ends. That is expected to occur in late 2016 or early 2017.
Leo Denault, Entergy's chairman and CEO, thanked Oswego County for its "overwhelming support" over the past four decades.
"We recognize the consequences of the shutdown for our employees and the surrounding community and pledge to do our best to support both during this transition," he said.