Riverkeeper to Participate in Hearings
Ossining, NY – Judges of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) have ruled that this past spring’s denial of a critical Water Quality Certification for Indian Point was legally valid. The case will now proceed to a hearing to determine whether, based on the facts, Entergy should receive the necessary certification.
Entergy applied for this certification in connection with its efforts to obtain a 20-year license extension for the two Indian Point reactors. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission cannot issue a license extension to a nuclear power plant unless the plant is certified by its host state as meeting state water quality standards and other applicable law, as required under Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act. In April 2010, DEC denied Entergy’s application for this certification, citing various reasons, including the plant’s adverse impact on aquatic ecology of the Hudson River due to the operation of Indian Point’s once through cooling water intake structures, impacts to endangered species, and because of the environmental impacts of accidental radioactive leaks that have been a problem at the plant for decades.
Since DEC’s denial, Entergy has been engaged in a large-scale public relations campaign to reverse DEC’s decision. Entergy also filed legal papers seeking to overturn DEC’s decision outright, and if not, then requested a hearing. Riverkeeper submitted a detailed petition in response, showing why DEC’s decision was completely appropriate, and asking to participate in any hearings.
In this week’s ruling, the DEC Judges rejected all of Entergy’s arguments about why the denial should be reversed outright. Significantly, this decision adopted Riverkeeper’s position that State’s are not preempted from considering the impacts of accidental radioactive leaks on the environment. The Judges also granted Riverkeeper’s request to participate in the proceedings, which will allow Riverkeeper to continue to support DEC’s decision, and demonstrate why the agency’s determination was correct.
“We’ve overcome an important hurdle in defending DEC’s denial, which is clearly supported by the law and the facts,” said Phillip Musegaas, Riverkeeper’s Hudson River Program Director. “Entergy is finally being held accountable for operating the Indian Point plant to the detriment of the environment, including critical and significant habitats of the Hudson River. Riverkeeper will continue to fight to ensure that DEC’s landmark decision to deny this certification is upheld.”
More information on Riverkeeper’s petition to DEC
More on Nuclear Power Problems