From the Morning Memo:

State regulators on Monday once again defended a plan to bolster nuclear power in New York, telling a panel of Assembly lawmakers a subsidy is needed to help shift the state to a low-carbon future.

“The upstate nuclear plants provide carbon free electricity – 27.6 million megawatt hours of zero-emissions benefits per year. The premature loss of those benefits would severely threaten our environmental progress,” said Gregg Sayre, Public Service Commission interim chairman.

The bailout is expected to cost some $7.6 billion, borne by utility ratepayers in New York. Environmental groups who oppose the subsidy, like Hudson River Clearwater, say that’s unfair.

“They’re taking away choice from consumers, whether those be individual residents or municipalities already purchasing 100 percent renewables. They’re forcing them to pay for the so-called zero emissions credits,” said Manna Jo Greene, environmental director of Hudson River Clearwater.

It’s not clear, however, what state lawmakers can do to block the subsidy, part of the clean energy standard, which already took effect April 1.

“That is something that’s within the purview of the governor,” said Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan. “It’s the Public Service Commission. Those are his people and yes, we have very grave concerns.”

Energy policy also dominated the discussion at the Capitol on Monday as groups like the Business Council and lawmakers urged the Cuomo Administration for regulatory reform on pipeline projects.