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New York State Should Object to Coastal Consistency Certification for Indian Point

Contact: Tina Posterli, 914-478-4501 x 239, [email protected]

Riverkeeper submits comments on pivotal issue that can expedite the closure of outdated nuclear plant

Ossining, NY – November 5, 2013 – Riverkeeper has submitted comments to the New York State Department of State (NYS DOS) outlining the myriad of reasons why Indian Point violates New York’s coastal zone policies and should not receive approval for a required “Consistency Certification.”

New York’s coastal policies explicitly prioritize the protection of habitats, protection of wildlife from hazardous waste, and the protection and expansion of recreational uses of the river. Indian Point must have a certification of consistency with the State’s policies in order to obtain the extended operating licenses Entergy is currently seeking from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Without the approval of the Department of State, Indian Point must close when its current operating licenses expire.

“Indian Point ravages the critical ecosystems of the Hudson River and poses an incredible and needless risk to coastal resources,” said Deborah Brancato, Riverkeeper staff attorney. “The State now has a decisive opportunity to hold Entergy accountable for the plant’s devastation, and can and should recognize that relicensing Indian Point would result in serious inconsistencies with numerous State coastal policies.”

NYSDOS is authorized to object to a coastal consistency certification if the proposed activity is inconsistent with any of the State’s enforceable policies. Riverkeeper’s comments to NYSDOS discuss specific ways in which the continued operation of Indian Point would be inconsistent with at least 16 of NYS’s coastal policies, and demonstrate that NYSDOS’ objection to Entergy’s Consistency Certification is completely necessary and warranted. These inconsistencies include the following:

  • Policy 7 – The protection, preservation, and restoration of significant coastal fish and wildlife habitats: Indian Point’s antiquated cooling water intake structure located directly in as well as nearby to designated significant fish and wildlife habitats, slaughters millions of aquatic organisms in the Hudson River every year. Decades of such massive fish kills have degraded habitat and contributed to the decline of 10 out of 13 key species in the river, including fish that are foundational to the recreational and commercial potential of the Hudson River, like American shad and river herring. If Entergy were to continue running the plant the way they want to, it would result in ongoing impacts, and clearly not in the protection, preservation, and restoration of significant coastal fish and wildlife habitats.
  • Policies 8 & 39 – The protection of fish and wildlife, groundwater, surface water, and recreational resources from hazardous wastes: Indian Point, a de facto nuclear waste dump, is currently home to 1,500+ tons of “spent” nuclear waste. Should Indian Point continue to operate, the plant will generate approximately 1,000 additional tons of waste to also be stored on the banks of the Hudson River. This waste, which is largely in tightly packed, degraded, leaking, and highly radioactive waste storage pools, poses an exceptional risk of accident and attendant large scale release of radiation to the surrounding coastal area, and demonstrably not in the protection of NYS coastal resources from hazardous pollutants.
  • Policies 9 & 19, 21 – Protection and expansion of recreational uses of and access to coastal resources: the operation of Indian Point interferes with the public’s enjoyment of coastal resources in a number of ways. For example, historic and rampant radiological leaks from spent fuel pools, buried pipes, and other structures at Indian Point since at least the 1990s have resulted in extensive plumes of highly toxic radiological contamination that indisputably leach to the Hudson River and interfere with recreational uses of the river; while massive fish kills caused by Indian Point have deteriorated stocks in the Hudson River and inhibited the public’s ability to recreationally fish. Relicensing Indian Point would clearly not protect and advance recreational uses of State coastal resources.

Read more about Riverkeeper’s campaign to close Indian Point and coastal consistency certification.

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