For Immediate Release
Contact: Hon. Ellen Jaffee (845) 729-981
Erika Caufield, Press Coordinator (845) 638-5184
Legislator Ellen Jaffee Is Joined By Other Legislators in Urging the County Executive to Withhold Submission of the County’s Annual Certification Letter for Indian Point Emergency Plan
New City, NY (January 12, 2005) – Legislator Ellen Jaffee, Chair of the Environmental Committee, has initiated a letter to Rockland County Executive, C. Scott Vanderhoef, strongly urging that he withhold the submission of the County’s Annual Certification Letter (ACL) for the Indian Point radiological emergency plan. The letter was also signed by Chairwoman Harriet Cornell, and Legislators Robert Berliner, Gerold Bierker, William Darden, David Fried, Michael Grant, Denise Kronstadt, VJ Pradhan, Roman Rodriguez, Ilan Schoenberger, Philip Soskin and Kenneth Zebrowski.
The letter states, “We believe that a reasonable and responsible course of action would be for you to exercise your leadership by refusing to affix your signature to the checklist of items and drills, which the Witt report notes ‘are designed to meet specific regulatory requirements, rather than effectively protect a population’.”
In March 2003 the Witt Report, commissioned by Governor Pataki, criticized virtually every aspect of the evacuation plan and concluded that the emergency plan for Indian Point was inadequate, key components unfixable and the region’s high population density and excessive traffic congestion would only complicate evacuation for New Yorkers and residents from neighboring states.
Another major concern is the lack of confidence that emergency first responders have in the Indian Point emergency plan. In May 2003, 175 first responders, who will be on the front line in the event of a radiological emergency, signed onto a petition to FEMA and the NRC expressing their concern.
Legislator Jaffee stated, “Rockland County has a superb and professional Department of Fire and Emergency Services; however, the Witt report makes it clear that even the best department could not respond to a mass evacuation of our area.”
Jaffee also noted, “Since January 2004 no material changes have been made to the radiological emergency preparedness plan (REPP). In fact, new evidence of failing Indian Point siren systems and the risk of losing power to these siren systems due to no battery back-up power has come to light.”
The letter reads: “We are in no way advocating abandonment of the plan. In the event of an actual emergency, we fully expect the County Executive to move swiftly to implement the existing plan for what it is worth.”
Legislator Jaffee added, “The lives of our residents, families, seniors and especially children are threatened. As elected officials, we promise in our oath of office to protect the public’s health and safety. We sincerely hope that the County Executive will refuse to approve this first level of certification and join with the legislature in seeking the immediate closure of Indian Point.”