Campaigns & Cases > Stop Polluters > Power Plant Cases > Hudson River Power Plants: Permitted to Pollute

Hudson River Power Plants: Permitted to Pollute

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for the three HRSA plants (Indian Point, Roseton, and Bowline) allow those plants to continue using this destructive, outdated cooling system, “once-through cooling,” thereby needlessly slaughtering massive quantities of Hudson River fish.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

  • Bowline

  • Roseton

  • Danskammer

  • Bethlehem Energy Center

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