Together the four major power plants on the Hudson River between Haverstraw and Marlboro withdraw about 5 billion gallons of cooling water per day at peak – four billion in Westchester-Rockland alone – and kill most of the aquatic life in this massive volume. The destruction is entirely unnecessary. Better cooling technology can recirculate the overwhelming majority of the water, and thereby reduce the fish kills by 95%. New power plants already use these “closed- cycle” systems, as do some older facilities around the country.
New York State has implemented a permitting program, the State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) program, which has been approved by the EPA for the control of wastewater and stormwater discharges in accordance with the Clean Water Act. The SPDES permits, issued by the NY Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for the three HRSA plants (Indian Point, Roseton, and Bowline) allow those plants to continue using this destructive, outdated cooling system, “once-through cooling,” thereby needlessly slaughtering massive quantities of Hudson River fish.
The Clean Water Act requires facilities to use the “best technology available to minimize adverse environmental impact,” but since 1992, when the SPDES permits for Indian Point, Roseton and Bowline expired, the state has “rubber stamped” their renewal.
In August 2008, however, the DEC affirmed that the Indian Point nuclear power plant’s cooling water intake system causes adverse environmental impacts on Hudson River fish. Although Entergy filed a lawsuit challenging DEC’s finding of “adverse” environmental impact, the decision has been upheld and the DEC is moving forward with a trial-type hearing to determine whether closed-cycle cooling must be installed at Indian Point. Hearings on the draft SPDES permit which would mandate closed-cycle cooling are tentatively scheduled for spring 2010.
Indian Point Units 2&3 are a pair of 1000 megawatt nuclear reactors in Buchanan , New York, formerly owned by Con Ed and the New York Power Authority. Both reactors were purchased by Entergy. Indian Point was one of the three plants included in the Hudson River Settlement Agreement (HRSA).
Indian Point’s operating licenses expire in 2013 and 2015. Riverkeeper is fighting to stop the plant’s relicensing and to promote safe energy alternatives for New York.
Bowline is a 1200 megawatt oil-fired power plant located in Haverstraw, New York, formerly owned by Orange and Rockland and purchased by Mirant. Bowline was one of the three plants in included in the Hudson River Settlement Agreement (HRSA).
Roseton is a 1200 megawatt oil-fired power plant near Newburgh, New York, formerly owned by Central Hudson Gas and Electric and recently purchased by Dynegy. Roseton was one of the three plants included in the Hudson River Settlement Agreement (HRSA).
Danskammer Electric Power Generating Plant formerly owned by Central Hudson Gas and Electric, now owned and operated by Dynegy. Located in Newburgh, New York.
Bethlehem Energy Center is located just south of Albany in Bethlehem, NY.