June 1, 2017
Honorable Dannel Malloy
210 Capitol Ave
Hartford, CT 06106
Dear Governor Malloy,
As scientists, conservationists, and environmentalists, we are grateful for your long-standing commitment to protect the environment and move Connecticut toward cleaner sources of energy. Since taking office, you have demonstrated an admirable concern for the environment by creating a council on climate change and recommitting Connecticut to its goal of reducing its carbon dioxide emissions 80 percent by the start of 2050.
Despite Connecticut’s successes, the state is now at risk of losing its lone nuclear plant, which currently supplies over half of Connecticut’s electricity consumption and provides 96 percent of the state’s zero-carbon electricity. In 2016, Millstone provided 46 times more electricity than Connecticut solar and wind combined. If nuclear energy received even a fraction of the subsidies or other preferential treatments that are given to renewables, Millstone would not be in danger of closing.
As seen all too recently in Vermont, when nuclear plants close, fossil fuels are the predominant replacement. If Connecticut loses Millstone, it will rely substantially on natural gas and energy imported from other parts of New England to meet its needs. The share of the state’s energy mix coming from natural gas, notorious for its price volatility, could increase sharply from 49 percent to 89 percent. Connecticut already has the second highest electric retail rate in the country at about 20 cents per kilowatt hour. The state’s climate goals, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and ISO New England’s tentative plans to incorporate carbon pricing directly into the cost of New England’s electricity would likely raise power prices even more if Connecticut sourced its power increasingly from natural gas.
Climate change poses a threat to Connecticut and the world, and the people most vulnerable to its effects are those in poverty and with preexisting health risks. The Paris Climate Agreement aims to limit an increase in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius, the point above which experts predict climate change’s effects would be catastrophic. As you and other governors recently wrote in a letter to the federal government, the United States should uphold its commitment to the Paris Agreement. Part of doing so is saving Millstone, which if lost would add carbon emissions equal to adding nearly 1.5 million cars to the road.
Nuclear is at risk because it is unfairly excluded from state and federal subsidies and mandates for clean energy. In the United States, renewables received $6.3 billion more or 2.4 times what was given to fossil fuels in tax preferences in 2016, and $10.7 billion more or 55 times what was given to nuclear. On a unit of energy basis, renewables received over 100 times what was given to nuclear. Federal data from the Congressional Budget Office show no subsidies for nuclear between 1985 and 2000, and comparatively small subsidies between 2000 and 2005.
Connecticut has a chance to set a leading example for other states by passing legislation that supports its nuclear power. This will restore fairness and guarantee that renewables and nuclear compete on a truly level playing field. While Illinois and New York have recently passed legislation to help subsidize their nuclear power, these measures will not be enough to ensure long-term fairness towards nuclear, which must compete against renewables that are both subsidized and guaranteed compensation.
Connecticut should go further in guaranteeing that nuclear is fairly recognized for its benefits. Instead of only crediting nuclear for the clean power that it generates when gas is too expensive or renewables are unavailable, Connecticut should ensure that nuclear is compensated for the affordable energy it provides around the clock.
As governor, you have demonstrated your willingness to shape the future of Connecticut’s energy policy. To do the right thing for your state’s environment and people, you need nuclear power. We urge you to support the public interest by keeping Millstone online. In doing so, you will help protect the state’s environment, health, and taxpayers.
James Hansen, Climate Science, Awareness, and Solutions Program, Columbia University, Earth Institute, Columbia University
Kerry Emanuel, Professor of Atmospheric Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Andrew Klein, President, American Nuclear Society
Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize recipient, author of Nuclear Renewal and The Making of the Atomic Bomb
Robert Stone, filmmaker, “Pandora’s Promise”
Steven Pinker, Harvard University, author of Better Angels of Our Nature
John Asafu-Adjaye, PhD, Senior Fellow, Institute of Economic Affairs, Ghana, Associate Professor of Economics, The University of Queensland, Australia
Gwyneth Cravens, author of Power to Save the World
Chris Dickman, Conservation Scientist, University of Sydney
David Dudgeon, Chair of Ecology & Biodiversity, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, China
Christopher Foreman, author of The Promise & Peril of Environmental Justice, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland
Valerie Gardner, Founder, Tiny Blue Dot; Chair, Atherton Environmental Programs Committee
Kirsty Gogan, Executive Director, Energy for Humanity
Joshua S. Goldstein, Prof. Emeritus of International Relations, American University
Mel Guymon, Guymon Family Foundation
Steven Hayward, Senior Resident Scholar, Institute of Governmental Studies, UC Berkeley
Pushker Kharecha, Climate Science, Awareness, and Solutions Program, Columbia University, Earth Institute, Columbia University
Steve Kirsch, CEO, Token
Joe Lassiter, Professor, Harvard Business School
John Lavine, Professor and Medill Dean Emeritus, Northwestern University
David Lea, Professor, Earth Science, University of California
Martin Lewis, Department of Geography, Stanford University
Mark Lynas, author, The God Species, Six Degrees
Norris McDonald, President, Environmental Hope and Justice
Alan Medsker, Coordinator, Environmental Progress - Illinois
Elizabeth Muller, Founder and Executive Director, Berkeley Earth
Richard Muller, Professor of Physics, UC Berkeley, Co-Founder, Berkeley Earth
Rachel Pritzker, Pritzker Innovation Fund
Peter H. Raven, President Emeritus, Missouri Botanical Garden. Winner of the National Medal of Science, 2001
Paul Robbins, Director, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Rathin Roy, Director, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, Delhi, India
Samir Saran, Vice President, Observer Research Foundation, Delhi, India
Peter Schwartz, author of Art of the Long View
Jeff Terry, Professor of Physics, Illinois Institute of Technology
Barrett Walker, Alex C. Walker Foundation
Michael Shellenberger, President, Environmental Progress
CC: The Honorable Martin Looney, Connecticut State Senate Democratic Leader
The Honorable Joe Aresimowicz, Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives
The Honorable Bob Duff, Connecticut State Senate Majority Leader
The Honorable Len Fasano, Connecticut State Senate Minority Leader
The Honorable Matt Ritter, Connecticut House of Representatives Majority Leader
The Honorable Themis Klarides, Republican Leader, Connecticut House of Representatives
Mr. Rob Klee, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP)
Mr. George Jepsen, Connecticut Attorney General
Elin Katz, Connecticut Consumer Counsel
 Dinan, Terry. Congressional Budget Office. 2017. Federal support for developing, producing, and using fuels and energy technologies. https://www.cbo.gov/system/files/115th-congress-2017-2018/ reports/52521-energytestimony.pdf
 Which is $28 million per terawatt hour of generation. Dinan, Terry. Congressional Budget Office. 2017. Federal support for developing, producing, and using fuels and energy technologies. https://www.cbo.gov/system/files/115th-congress-2017-2018/ reports/52521-energytestimony.pdf