]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]      NEXT STEP FOR SHOREHAM: OPEN IT     [[[[[[[[[[[[ 
                 Editorial, The New York Times, 12-3-88

                [Kindly uploaded by Freeman 07565GAED]

      When  it came down to this week's deadline, the New  York  Legisla-
  ture  decided that Long Islanders feared high electric costs more  than 
  nuclear  power.   Instead of acting boldly on this  new  perception  by 
  turning  down an agreement to decommission the Shoreham  nuclear  power 
  plant and putting the $5 billion-plus facility to productive use,  they 
  left town.
     No  doubt the legislators hope that ratepayers will  blame  Governor 
  Cuomo,  not  them,  for  the nuclear presence annd  the  high  cost  of 
  removing it.  But Mr. Cuomo can  still win on two fronts, shrewd  poli-
  tics  and wise policy.  There was and is only one sensible thing to  do 
  with Shoreham: Make electricity.
      Two  facts about Shoreham are basic.  The plant, incorporating  all 
  safety  features now required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,  is 
  safer  than others now in operation.  Second, except for cost  overruns 
  through  faulty management [let's not forget the costs of +5  years  of 
  politically induced delays, BG], the basic value of the plant is  ulti-
  mately  payable by Lilco's customers under rate formulas of the  Public 
  Service Commission.
      When  Governor  Cuomo recognized Long Island's  resistance  to  the 
  plant, he instituted a policy of planned neglect of all steps  required 
  for  a Federal operating permit.  The refusal of local  authorities  to 
  participate  in evacuation planning led Lilco finally to negotiate  the 
  agreement  with  the Governor.  In return for giving up  Shoreham,  the 
  utility  would  be allowed to raise electric rates 63 percent  over  10 
  years.
     Acknowledging  Long Islanders' fear of high rates, and certain  that 
  Republican  state senators from Long Island would blame him  for  them, 
  Mr. Cuomo insisted that the Legislature accept joint responsibility for 
  the buyout plan.  By refusing to play, the Legislature appears to think 
  he can be made solely responsible for the future rate rises.
     The Legislature is clever, but the Governor still holds the  winning 
  ace.   He is able to point out that, since the deadline passed  without 
  legislative action, the power of decision has been handed by the Legis-
  lature  to Lilco.  The utility will, of course, try to win its  nuclear 
  operating license.  Meantime, any time it finds the buyout more attrac-
  tive it can change its course.
     Governor  Cuomo properly contends that without legislative  approval 
  the agreement he proposed is no agreement, leaving Lilco no choice  but 
  to  push  ahead  toward operating Shoreham.  The  Legislature  has,  in 
  effect, given tacit assent to Lilco's application to  open the plant as 
  preferable to the buyout.  Playing this  ace, the Governor not only can 
  restore a political balance in his favor.  He can also help assure Long 
  Islanders  of  what  they will otherwise have  trouble  achieving:   an 
  adequate, safe source of power.
     [Seppuku, Governor, seppuku. BG]

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