Entergy's Political Spending and the Battle over Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant
The Indian Point Energy Center is a nuclear power plant in northern Westchester County, which provides roughly 20% of the electrical power used by New York City and its environs. Indian Point is owned by Entergy, a Louisiana based company which also owns the James A. FitzPatrick plant in Oswego, NY. In 2013 and 2015 Entergy's licenses to operate Indian Point's two reactors will expire, which is why it needs approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for two more 20 year licenses.
Indian Point has been a source of debate for years, but opposition has increased since the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima power plant in 2011, with longtime critics like Governor Cuomo lining up against re-licensing.
Common Cause/NY's report, "Generating Influence: Entergy's Spending and the Battle over the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant" analyzes all aspects of Entergy's efforts to manipulate the debate. Our in depth analysis shows that from 2005 to 2012, Entergy spent over $4.5 million in New York State and $35.6 million in Washington on political contributions and lobbying.
In addition to campaign contributions and lobbying, Entergy has employed a sophisticated public relations campaign coordinated by Burson Marsteller. One of Entergy's key strategies is a grassroots "astroturfing" campaign designed to create the appearance of public support. Astroturfing is the act of establishing shill front-group organizations which don't disclose their connection to their corporate sponsor while attempting to exert influence on the sponsor's behalf. In the case of Indian Point, Entergy has established two such organizations, NY AREA and SHARE.
While Common Cause/NY takes no position on the re-licensing of Indian Point, we strongly believe that the final decision should be based in objective analysis of the costs and benefits and not unduly shaped by the well-funded lobbying, campaign contributions, and publicity campaigns of Entergy Corporation.
Common Cause/NY Press Release: read it here.
New York Times: Owner Makes All-Out Push for Indian Point
Mid-Hudson News: Common Cause finds fault with Entergy’s Indian Point PR effort
WAMC Northeast Public Radio: Good Government Group Questions Entergy's Lobbying Efforts