It’s not over yet.
The bill banning dumping tritated water into the Hudson passed the legislature but is is not signed into law. Holtec now has given no indication that they will respect this bill when and if the Governor does sign it. There are amazing numbers of people, including lawyers, working on this from many different angles.
County Executive Latimer has just posted a short, excellent analysis with a great idea for our next step.
We need a 2 year moratorium! While he is not the first to call for this, he is one of the first politicians. His argument is very strong and speaks to good government.
The video is a short, thoughtful analysis of how we got here and how to move forward. Share it widely on your social media and with anyone else who may be interested. Certainly send it to your electeds. Maybe they will do the same thing.
Whether you live in Westchester or not, County Executive deserves our thanks and support. Let him know you have his back.
Call: 914 – 995 – 2900 or email
Indian Point Safe Energy Project
Watch the video at
What follows is a transcript of the video if you prefer to read what he said.
“I am sorry I cannot attend this month’s meeting of the Oversight Board; issues relating to the unfolding migrant asylum-seekers matter have taken immediate priority this evening.
I must express some concern about where we are headed, and the process underway. We have been told that Holtec has determined that a release of contaminated water into the Hudson River is necessary, and the only method available to continue the decommissioning process at the plant. We are told that such a release would be “safe” under Federal standards, and is already authorized by the NRC. The industry professionals assert these as facts to be accepted by citizens and public officials, superseding any other considerations.
Except for one major problem. The public and their elected public officials have had no significant input in this decision, and are being presented a fait accompli which we are told is non-negotiable. That is simply not acceptable.
The public at large has not been made a partner in understanding the options available for dealing with the contaminated water; yet, it is the public that, at the end of the day, is fully responsible for what impacts, unintended or not may yet occur. A corporation, if they miscalculate or create a substantial remediation cost, can simply claim bankruptcy and go out of business. Or, they can limit liability through legal structures. An unintended or unforeseen complication to public safety or public health that requires massive allocation of funds, will fall back on the taxpaying public.
It has happened before. PCBs in the Hudson. PFAS products breaking down in the drinking water system. Air quality at the 9/11 Ground Zero site that caused cancers and deaths for those who worked there, told by the officials of the day that it was safe to do so.
Who guarantees the life and safety after an action is taken? Who ensures there is compensation for those who suffer financial harm? Who gives back a life lost to miscalculation?
The State Senate passed a bill to regulate such a discharge. I’ve heard it rumored that if the bill has the possibility of becoming law, Holtec will simply release the water on their own schedule before any law can take effect.
There are those who want action taken so that they may benefit for the construction industry labor that follows. Our County government conducts numerous public works projects, all with union labor. We support and value that labor – it is essential in our society. But we cannot make a decision based on jobs alone for today and tomorrow, if the negative impacts from that decision could extend decades into the future and cost other jobs and livelihoods, and perhaps, cost lives.
If Holtec asserts that there is no method by which the contaminated water can remain on site, placed in a holding chamber outside of the plant so the deconstruction of the plant can occur, then they must engage with the greater public, and public officials, in explaining why that is the case. They have not done so to date. They have given the impression that public opinion, and or public support/opposition to their plans is irrelevant.
May I suggest that in a democracy, it is upon public support that the integrity and validity of all government decisions rest. If the public marketplace is to be ignored, then there is no democracy.
And if it is true that the NRC governs these matters absolutely, regardless of the public, the local government, the County or State, then why even have a Decommissioning Oversight Board? What “oversight” do we provide if we cannot change a policy or direction? I have no wish to be a rubber stamp for policies that I have no real ability to adjust, or to sit quietly to acquiesce in decisions I have no part in making.
Certainly 50 years from now, I will no longer be on this planet. But the question I have to ask is “Am I sure if this water is released, in this quantity, at this level of pollution, that there will be no harmful effects to this river over those 50 years, and the people who use it or live near it?”. I have no confidence, nor have I seen persuasive data that assures me otherwise, that this release will be safe for the short and long term health of the river.
I certainly believe this is the least expensive way for Holtec to operate their decommissioning plans. I spent two decades in the private sector, and I am well aware that profit is the first priority, and keeping costs as low as possible is always in the corporate best interest.
Is it in the public’s best interest?
If we are not prepared to take the time necessary to answer these questions persuasively, given the many in the public who doubt, then there really is no public role to play. Except that we live here. We work here. And if there is any miscalculation, we will be the ones who pay the price, with our wallets and perhaps, with our health.
I support calls for a moratorium to address these issues thoroughly.”