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Conversion plan expected to save Dunkirk plant

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A holiday celebration of sorts began Sunday in Dunkirk as Governor Cuomo announced a plan that assures the future of the NRG power plant."I am here to tell you today that the state has decided that the plant will remain open. It will modernize. It will expand. It will be better than ever before," Governor Cuomo told an applauding audience in Dunkirk Sunday

One of the state's largest polluters, the power plant will convert from coal to natural gas by 2015.

The $150 million project will save the plant's 70 jobs and will need another 50 construction jobs to complete the conversion.

During the announcement, Cuomo sounded a bipartisan bell by spreading credit to the Southern Tier's Republican State Senator.      

"My colleague from Albany, Cathy Young , you should know I work with her on a number of issues," Cuomo told the audience. "She's great in the district. She's also a big shot back in Albany and people really respect her."

NRG is Chautauqua County's largest taxpayer and provides 40 percent of Dunkirk's annual property tax revenues.  

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, who was the first statewide official to call for repowering of the Dunkirk NRG plant, visited the plant and met with local officials on numerous occasions, and made significant outreach to PSC officials, released the following statement Sunday:

“We‘ve worked long and hard for this, because we knew it was triple win- a win for jobs in Chautauqua county, a win for the taxpayers of Dunkirk and the Dunkirk city schools, and a win for cleaner energy throughout the Northeast. We are glad it is now happening.”

U.S. Congressman Tom Reed also issuing a statement on the  NRG annoucement Sunday:

“The local community won a huge victory with the news that NRG will stay in Dunkirk. Repowering the plant with natural gas will secure hundreds of jobs supported by the plant. We have worked hard with state legislators, local officials and the Governor’s office to make this a reality. But the credit for this victory goes to all the Chautauqua residents who spoke out by writing letters, making calls, circulating petitions and using their voice to get this decision. It is truly a victory for all.”