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Closings and Delays

The Palisades closure is expected to cause job loss in Van Buren, Cass and Berrien Counties

NRC-palisades.jpg
Official Nuclear Regulatory Commission Photo
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The Palisades nuclear power plant on Apr 09, 2015. Courtesy photo from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

A virtual presentation on Monday outlined the economic impact of closing the Palisades nuclear power plant.

Entergy powered down the Covert Township power plant in May, immediately eliminating almost 200 jobs before it sold the building to Holtec for decommissioning. The ripple effect of the closure will be felt for years to come, and was the topic of a virtual meeting on Monday.

The preliminary findings from an assessment by the University of Michigan’s Economic Growth Institute, working with local partners, found the regional impact will be substantial.

“The impact on the number of jobs in the economy is really quite large,” said the institute’s senior project manager, Carmen Wells Quigg.

Wells Quigg said the study focuses on the cascade effects in other areas and industries, and also takes national trends in employment and the economy into account.

The preliminary study predicts that Van Buren, Berrien and Cass Counties will lose 406 jobs in other sectors, as far away as Lawrence, Bangor and Hartford. Wells Quigg called these cities “all areas of concern” because of the number of residents from marginalized communities that live there.

The biggest impact is expected to be in retail, food and employment services. But other areas will also be affected because of the expected reduction in property tax revenue. Wells Quigg warned of effects for the Van Buren County Intermediate School District in terms of loss of charitable giving and enrollment.

Wells Quigg said the final impact assessment is expected in March. The public has until Feb. 28 to send questions, comments and feedback to palisades@marketvanburen.org. Once the final assessment is complete, Wells Quigg said the group will begin the “recovery phase” to explore ways to minimize the economic impact on the region that will be outlined in the final assessment report.

Leona Larson (Gould-McElhone) was a complaint investigator with the Detroit Consumer Affairs Department when she started her media career producing and co-hosting Consumer Conversation with Esther Shapiro for WXYT-Radio in Detroit while freelancing at The Detroit News and other local newspapers. Leona joined WDIV-TV in Detroit as a special projects' producer and later, as an investigative producer. She spent several years teaching journalism for the School of Communications at Western Michigan University. Leona prefers to use her middle name on air because it's shorter and easier to pronounce.