AAEA has supported the operation of the Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC) , with its two nuclear units, since 2001. We have presented testimony and statements at Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) hearings, state, county and local hearings, city and town forums, and community meetings. For about a decade and a half, we were the only environmental group supporting the facility. AAEA’s report, “Fish Eggs Versus Asthmatic Children In Harlem” describes the issues surrounding IPEC and shows how detrimental it would be to close the plant.
The Indian Point 2 and 3 facilities, located in the affluent and predominantly white Westchester County, have a combined generating capacity of 2,000 MW. The facilities provide approximately 20-30% of the electricity for New York City and its northern suburbs. And, unlike New York’s fossil-fuel burning facilities, Indian Point 2 and 3 do not pollute the air. IPEC is required to have air and water permits from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in order to operate.
AAEA is committed to protecting the environment and supports DEC’s efforts to preserve the rich habitat of the Hudson River – but to implement policies to protect the River without even considering the serious health effects that shutting down Indian Point or limiting Indian Point’s production will have on low-income and minority communities in New York amounts to nothing more than disregarding environmental justice issues.
Indian Point and James A. Fitzpatrick (JAF) emit virtually no greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), the gas that has been linked to global warming. Emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) lead to the formation of acid rain.
Nitrogen oxide (NOx) is a key precursor of both ground level ozone and smog. During 2010, environmental emissions avoided due to nuclear power plant operation in New York included 28,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, 15,000 short tons of nitrogen oxide, and 24 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. Based on Indian Point's and Fitzpatrick's 2010 generation output, these units were collectively responsible for over 54% of the avoided environmental emissions attributed to nuclear plants operations in New York.
These environmental benefits alone should be cause enough to not threaten the operation of IPEC in any way. These environmental benefits are also advantageous for PEJAs. Environmental justice areas do not get much good news in terms of facility siting and exposure to a disproportionate number of pollution sites. IPEC is an asset against such disproportionate impacts. Will the DEC continues to ignore environmental justice considerations, or will it act appropriately to value human health and well-being over questionable benefits to fish eggs and larvae.
AAEA submitted a Motion for Full Party Status and was granted full party status in the New York Department of Environmental Conservation adjudication of the water permit(s) for IPEC in 2008. AAEA President Norris McDonald presented testimony for DEC adjudicatory hearings and other AAEA designees submitted testimony as needed. The process included two separate two-week hearing sessions in Albany, New York. An agreement was ultimately reached among Entergy, DEC, and Riverkeeper to grant the water permit in exchange for closing IPEC in 2020. AAEA was not aware of negotiations to develop this agreement and opposed the agreement.