Supreme Court denies case challenging state nuclear subsidies

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a petition from an electric trade association group that challenged nuclear plant subsidies designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The case was seen as a potential roadblock to states that are increasingly looking for ways to reduce their reliance on polluting fuels.

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The Electric Power Supply Association argued that nuclear subsidies in New York and Illinois give nuclear producers an unfair advantage.

“States are moving aggressively to increase the wholesale revenues of favored producers,” lawyers for the association wrote in their brief, adding that rates should be set through competition.

New York in 2016 announced plans to get half of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent over the same period.

“Nuclear power is a crucial, emission-free bridge to that future,” New York wrote in its brief, but said financial instability left many nuclear plants at risk of closing. “If they close before enough new renewable resources are built, the gap will be filled with fossil-fuel generation and emissions will spike.”

The Electric Power Supply Association, which represents power producers and marketers, appealed to the Supreme Court after losing in the 2nd Circuit Court.

In keeping with practice, the Supreme Court did not give a reason for denying the case.

The power supply association said it will now turn to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in its challenge, particularly given efforts in other states to secure nuclear subsidies.

“Emboldened nuclear subsidy seekers [are] now pounding on the doors of state legislatures in Ohio, Pennsylvania and again in Illinois for a second helping,” the group said in a statement.