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Rep. Barbra Lifton Joins Fight to Close Cayuga Power Plant

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State Assemblywoman Barbra Lifton has joined the fight to close a power plant in Lansing.

Lifton is leading a coalition of lawmakers who are fighting against a plan to keep the Cayuga Power plant in Lansing operating.

The coal-fired plant suspended operations in 2012 after cheap natural gas undercut electricity prices.

The operators are looking for NYSEG to pay over $104 million to retrofit the facility to burn natural gas.

NYSEG is opposed and instead wants to spend $56 million to upgrade power lines in the area.

The state’s Public Service Commission is considering whether to order the plant’s closure or approve the natural-gas retrofitting for the plant. The PSC says there is a 300-megawatt electricity shortfall during peak demand and has ordered the facility to stay open through 2017 with funding from a NYSEG surcharge. Lifton says ratepayers are paying $4 million a month to keep the plant open.

Lifton says the bailout sets a precedent for other coal-fired plants and wants the state to develop a plan to help transition communities like Lansing that will feel the loss of tax dollars from the plant.

Last year the plant paid $1.3 million in taxes to Lansing schools and $550 thousand to local governments and the Lansing Fire District.

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