Local elected officials and activists gathered outside Cortlandt Town Hall Thursday evening to urge Governor Andrew Cuomo to release the results of a risk assessment of a high-pressure gas pipeline near the Indian Point nuclear plants that is more than two years overdue.
“How much longer will the governor make us wait?” said Courtney Williams, a Peekskill resident, cancer researcher and member of Resist Spectra. “I’m calling on the governor to do the right thing.”
The state hired a consultant, Henningson, Durham and Richardson, Architects and Engineers, PC, to conduct a risk assessment at a cost of $250,000, paid by taxpayers, that was planned to be completed by December 31, 2006. Several delays have taken place since and the report still hasn’t surfaced even though the new pipeline has already been constructed.
Paul Blanch, a nuclear power expert who has worked for the state regarding safety at Indian Point, alleged there is a “conspiracy” between the state and Enbridge/Spectra to conceal the risk assessment.
“All we’re getting is promises. None of the commitments from the state to provide information have been met,” Blanch remarked at the rally.
State Assemblywoman Sandra Galef and Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi said letters they have sent to Cuomo in January and March seeking a status report on the risk assessment have not been answered. Galef said she spoke with a Cuomo staff member recently and was told the report should be forthcoming.
“We thought we were going to get it a year ago. It doesn’t may any sense that this report doesn’t appear,” Galef said.
“We need answers. What are they hiding?” said Puglisi, who noted she remains perplexed how the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission allowed Spectra to build the new pipeline closer to Indian Point than where the previous pipeline was located.
Paul Gallay, president of Riverkeeper, the environmental group that was involved with the state and Entergy in the deal last year that stunned local leaders with the announcement that Indian Point would stop operating in 2021, maintained the pipeline’s proximity to the nuclear plants threatens the region.
“Everyone is speculating does it (risk assessment) have things in it that people don’t want us to know about?” Gallay said. “Silence is not acceptable. The longer this goes on, the worse it looks.”
By Rick Pezzullo