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NRG water shut-off could impact thousands of WNY jobs

Posted: 6:39 PM, Apr 03, 2018
Updated: 2018-04-04 19:18:48Z

Carl Kriger, Plant Manager at Peroxychem in the Town of Tonawanda is fighting to keep the water on. 

“We require coaling water to operate and be successful in our manufacturing,” Kriger said. 

Peroxychem, Dunlop Sumitomo, 3M, and other plants along Sawyer Road pump raw water from Niagara River through the old Huntley Coal Plant. Those companies have contracts with NRG Energy who owns Huntley. However, those contracts expires in 2019. 

“NRG has announced in a heartless cruel and dumb move that they are going to shutoff the water in 2019,” U.S. Senator Schumer said. 

A shutoff Schumer said could cause a half dozen plants to pack up and leave the area, which could put about 4,000 Western New Yorkers out of work. 

Huntley has supplied the intake water source for the other plants over decades and even after closing more than two years ago. 

Schumer said NRG was recently given a billion dollar tax break by the U.S. Federal Government. He believes the company should use a piece of the wealth to help the Tonawanda community. 

The Town of Tonawanda Supervisor, Joe Emminger said he just wants a contract extension while the town works out a permanent solution. 

“Without the extension our industrial raw water project can not happen. The reason is simple our project is going to take 3 years to complete,” Emminger said. 

NRG released this statement to 7 Eyewitness News late this afternoon, 

“Regarding the closed Huntley plant, the current contracts for water intake services are still in effect and may be extended by mutual agreement.  NRG is aware of the importance of the industrial plants’ access to water and we continue to work with them, and with the Town of Tonawanda, while balancing the needs and future opportunities for the site which is a key priority for the community and NRG as well.  
To be clear, NRG does not provide water to these industrial customers.  They operate their own pumping equipment on the site to take water from the Niagara River.  We have confidential commercial contracts in place to permit their ongoing use. It’s important to note that Huntley station has been retired for two years, and we’ve worked in good faith with those industrial companies for almost three years—since before the station closed—to accommodate their needs and allow time to plan for the future.”

However, Schumer and Emminger said they have not heard from NRG. A rep for NRG said that the company is in frequent contact with Emminger on this issue and other issues pertaining to the Huntley Station. 

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