SCRIBA, N.Y. -- Hundreds of people expressed their support for one of Oswego County's biggest employers at a rally Monday evening. They say if the James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant were to close, it'd have a devastating impact on the area.
When workers first discovered that the plant's parent company, Entergy Corporation, was considering whether or not to refuel it in 2016, many were devastated.
"Crushed," said Larry Kelley, a facilities supervisor at the plant. "It's my family. I've been up there 13 years. Know all the intimate details of everybody's lives up there."
Entergy originally planned to decide in December whether to refuel the plant in 2016 or not. That has since been moved up and the decision is expected to made by the end of this month. If the plant were to close, hundreds of jobs would be lost.
"You're talking about a lot of people that wouldn't be able to afford their mortgages, you'd either have to move out of this state or out of this area to find work, comparable income," said James Yerdon, an electrician with the plant who's currently on a leave of absence. "It would affect our local economy, local businesses."
The plant has paid millions of dollars in property taxes and has regularly made contributions to local non-profits. That's why so many felt the need to come out Monday to show their support for the plant. Entergy is considering the move because it says the plant has been struggling financially.
Local politicians are hoping to find out what the company needs to keep it open.
"What their bottom line is, what they need to see done at the state level or the local level," said state Sen. Patty Ritchie, R-Watertown. "I've been in a number of conversations with the governor's staff and also had an opportunity to talk to the governor, he's engaged in the issue."
"Fossil fuels emit carbon in the air. Nuclear plants do not," said Rep. John Katko, R-Syracuse. "We have to factor that into the whole argument here and figure out how to keep these plants open for that sake and to keep all these jobs."
Katko also added that he has had several phone conversations with the president of Entergy. Ritchie plans to meet Wednesday with Entergy officials in Albany.