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Riverkeeper Petitions to Intervene in Indian Point Water Quality Permit Proceeding


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

Riverkeeper, Natural Resources Defense Council and Scenic Hudson Support New York State’s Denial of Critical Certification for Indian Point

Tarrytown, NY – July 15, 2010 – Riverkeeper, together with its partners Scenic Hudson and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), is fighting back against efforts by Entergy, the owner of the Indian Point nuclear power plant, to overturn the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (“DEC”) denial of a critical water quality certification.

Entergy must obtain a certification from the DEC that Indian Point’s operation will not violate state water quality standards as part of its application to the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to renew the plant’s operating license for an additional twenty years. This past April, DEC denied Entergy’s application for the certification, finding that the continued use of Indian Point’s destructive once-through cooling water system (which kills over a billion aquatic organisms per year due to entrainment, impingement, and heat related impacts), and continuing radioactive water leaks into the groundwater and the Hudson River would violate state water quality standards. On April 29, Entergy requested a hearing with DEC in an effort to reverse the agency’s landmark decision. In response, Riverkeeper filed a legal petition with DEC on July 12 seeking to participate in the hearing process, supporting DEC’s decision and offering additional reasons why the denial should be upheld.

“Riverkeeper commends DEC for taking a hard line against Entergy’s continuing effort to delay the required upgrade of Indian Point’s outdated and destructive cooling water intake system,” said Phillip Musegaas, Hudson River Program Director at Riverkeeper. “The Hudson River ecosystem is a unique and valuable public resource that must be protected, not despoiled to fatten Entergy’s profit margins.”

Riverkeeper’s petition offers substantial evidence to support DEC’s findings that continued operation of Indian Point would violate New York State water quality standards. Entergy’s plan to continue using an antiquated once-through cooling system would lead to ongoing harmful impacts to the Hudson River’s ecology and aquatic species. Reports commissioned by Riverkeeper indicate that numerous important fish species in the river are in decline, due in part to the destruction caused by Indian Point. Entergy’s refusal to upgrade the plant to a closed-cycle cooling system, which would indisputably minimize adverse impacts to the river, would lead to continued degradation of critical habitat, in violation of numerous state water quality standards. Furthermore, ample evidence shows that the radioactive leaks that have been problematic at Indian Point since the 1990s, would violate various state water quality standards if Indian Point operates for an additional 20 years.

Before proceeding to a hearing, DEC will host meetings on July 20 to solicit comments from the public on this critical issue. On July 21, DEC will convene an “issues conference” to determine if any of the issues raised by Entergy in its request merit a hearing, and also decide which parties, such as Riverkeeper may participate in the proceedings.

Read Riverkeeper, NRDC, and Scenic Hudson’s Petition

More information on DEC’s denial of water quality certification for Indian Point

More information on DEC’s meetings and public comment submissions

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