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Coalition calling for funds to help Ken-Ton after Huntley closure

A coalition working to mitigate the effects of the Huntley Station power plant’s closure is calling on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to ensure access to coal transition funds for the Town of Tonawanda and Ken-Ton School District.

Members of the Just Transition Coalition will hold a letter-writing event at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the upper hall of the American Legion’s Broundshidle Post, 3354 Delaware Ave., Kenmore.

The coalition is calling for a commitment of $6 million per year for five years from the state’s Fossil Fuel Plant Closure Fund in Cuomo’s 2016 executive budget, which will be released Wednesday.

NRG Energy plans to close Huntley on March 1, leading to the loss of 79 jobs and $6 million in annual revenue to the town, school district and Erie County.

The state Legislature last year established the $19 million fund to help communities transition after a coal plant closes. The legislation applies to communities where a fossil fuel generating facility permanently ceases operations.

The coalition is urging Cuomo to ensure that the fund is included in his proposed budget; the amount is increased; and that the Ken-Ton community is eligible to receive those funds.