Activists, legislators call for Governor Hochul to pass S05181/A05338

Kingston, NY — On Tuesday, Ulster County passed a resolution opposing the dumping of radioactive waste into the Hudson River, joining Westchester and Rockland counties and more than a dozen municipalities in taking a stance on the issue. At a rally before the vote, activists and legislators called on Governor Hochul to stop the dump, and pass S05181/A05338 to prohibit radioactive waste dumping into state waters.

Holtec International has announced a dangerous plan to dump up to one million gallons of radioactive wastewater from the Indian Point decommissioning into the Hudson River. The Hudson River is a Superfund site, relied on by seven communities and over 100,000 people for drinking water, including thousands in Ulster County. The wastewater contains several contaminants including tritium. Exposure to this radioactive isotope is linked to cancer, miscarriages, genetic defects and other adverse health effects. There is no safe dose of radiation and its harmful impacts are cumulative.

“Radioactive waste does not belong in our drinking water,” said Tara Vamos, Food & Water Watch Hudson Valley Volunteer Leader. “There is no reason to dump toxic nuclear waste into the Hudson, other than to satisfy Holtec’s bottom line. Governor Hochul must join our local electeds in championing this issue, and protecting public health and our environment. Governor Hochul must pass S05181/A05338 to stop Holtec’s dump and ban radioactive dumping into our waters for good.”

“That we’ve been dumping radioactive waste into the Hudson River speaks to how little care we’ve been putting into building a society around our health and well-being. Everyday, we are asked to continue exploiting ourselves and the nature we live in just so that business can continue as usual” said Assembly Member Sarahana Shrestha. “This is a reckless vision that is also shortsighted. I’ll be joining my colleagues in the state legislature to ensure that we halt this dumping, that we call on Governor Hochul to do the same, and that we do robust research to determine the correct course of action.” 

Senator Michelle Hinchey said, “Our Hudson River is not a waste channel for corporations to pollute, but a drinking water source and a hub for tourism and recreation that we need to protect and continue to restore. The thought of up to a million gallons of radioactive waste being released into the Hudson is unconscionable, which is why I’m proud to co-sponsor Senator Pete Harckham’s bill to ban radioactive dumping in our state waters. Clean water is a right that the people of the Hudson Valley do not take for granted, and I stand in unity with Ulster County and our Hudson Valley communities in calling for this legislation to be passed and signed into law this session.”

“Don’t dump on the River That Flows Both Ways! While shutting down Indian Point we must respect the health of the estuary & neighboring communities. Keep radioactive water out of the Hudson please, Gov. Hochul! Respect waterways, Gov. Hochul: no radioactive dumping,” said Ulster County Legislator Phil Erner.

Earlier this month, Holtec International announced plans to expedite their dumping to begin May 4. In response to robust community opposition, including concern expressed by Senators Schumer and Gillibrand in a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the company withdrew the plan to expedite their dumping. The company has indicated an intention to proceed with the dump this summer.