Indian Point

Indian Point Energy Center, a nuclear facility located here in NY-17 in the village of Buchanan, has been a major source of energy for our region for decades. Although many in our community have fought for years to close the aging facility, the imminent closing of Reactor 2 in April of 2020, and the final reactor in 2021, has raised critical issues for the health, safety, and economic future for our community and our region.

 New York state and the federal government must ensure the site is responsibly redeveloped and that Holtec, the company set to purchase the facility from Entergy once it’s shut down, meets all of its commitments to a safe, sustainable closure.  The federal government must be on the ground and acting on behalf of community interests to ensure a safe, financially viable, and complete clean-up process.

 Our community requires renewed federal oversight of the closing of Indian Point, both because of the catastrophic nature of a potential failure and because the federal regulatory authorities, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), have failed in their responsibility to protect the health and safety of our community.

In 2015, the FERC and the NRC allowed a natural gas pipeline to be built across Indian Point’s property near critical nuclear safety infrastructure. In spite of protests from New Yorkers, deeply concerned about the safety of a gas pipeline passing through a nuclear facility (which is also situated on an earthquake fault line), the NRC and FERC fought for the pipeline in court, assuring us that their calculations proved the pipeline was safe. 

In February, the Inspector General of the NRC released a bombshell report showing federal agencies severely ignored their duties to confirm essential assertions by Entergy regarding the safety of the pipeline and misled the public about the dangers—backwards engineering their calculations to arrive at the appropriate risk assessment.

Although the NRC has subsequently redone the analysis in light of the damning Inspector General report, our community deserves certainty and transparency as we embark on the decades-long and enormously expensive process of decommissioning. In Congress, I intend to ensure the federal government provides it.

As the case of Indian Point shows, both the NRC and FERC mostly act to facilitate industry interests, even at the expense of the health and safety of local communities. I will fight to reform both the NRC and FERC for the health and safety of our community and to fundamentally reorient these agencies to help move energy production in America towards the sustainable and renewable future we need.

I share the desire for a speedy resolution to the closure of Indian Point, but we cannot allow a financially unsound and poorly-planned decommissioning process to begin—the stakes are too high. I applaud the actions of New York State authorities like Attorney General Letitia James, who has intervened to halt the transfer of control of Indian Point from Entergy to Holtec, a company with questionable financial stability, for the decades-long decommissioning process that has been insufficiently transparent.

Our community must have financial and regulatory support from the federal government to ensure the shutdown of Indian Point leads to a prosperous future for the school districts and towns most acutely impacted by the closure of Indian Point. With the recent devastation of state and local budgets wrought by the coronavirus, it is all the more important that the federal government steps in to provide a financial lifeline for our community.

IN CONGRESS, I WILL FIGHT TO:

●  Provide federal funds for school districts and towns unable to cover the revenue shortfall resulting from the shutdown of Indian Point 

●  Ensure the decommissioning of Indian Point is thorough and in NY-17 constituents’ best interests, with respect to both safety and financial responsibility

●  Create a federally-backed glidepath for the economic revitalization of the area, similar to the effective processes we use when military bases are closed

●  End the revolving door between the industries being regulated and the staff of both the FERC and NRC

●  Establish regular independent audits of NRC and FERC decisions as well as independent watchdogs, and/or a Blue Ribbon Commission including local and state authorities and stakeholders

●  Mandate additional regulatory criteria ensuring newly approved projects contribute towards renewable energy production and environmental sustainability

 

 

 

 

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