Tuesday, November 22, 2016

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Entergy loses round in state court over Indian Point relicensing

Decision could complicate, but does not stop the federal relicensing review

ALBANY - The state Court of Appeals on Monday unanimously determined that the New York Department of State was correct regarding its determination that it has the right to review Entergy’s applications to renew federal licenses to operate the Indian Point nuclear facility, 32 miles north of midtown Manhattan. 

The Court ruled that the Secretary of State had the right to review the permits to ensure they are consistent with New York’s Coastal Management Program, reversing a decision made by a lower court. Citing numerous environmental and public safety concerns, the NYS Department of State filed an objection to Indian Point’s application for a Coastal Consistency Certification in late 2015. Riverkeeper was granted permission to intervene as amicus curiae and filed a brief supporting the DOS.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said today’s decision by the New York Court of Appeals affirms the requirement that the consistency of relicensing the Indian Point nuclear power facility with State policies protecting the Hudson River Coastal Zone and its resources be addressed as part of considering  whether to relicense the facility to operate for an additional 20 years: 

“Today’s decision represents a major victory for the continued health and productivity of our state’s environment. Among our most important laws are those that protect sensitive ecosystems, including New York’s lower Hudson River and its natural resources,” Schneiderman said. “The court has now made it clear that policies protecting New York’s critical coastal resources are a necessary factor in considering whether to relicense the Indian Point facility.”

Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay was also jubilant over the decision

"This is a monumental day,” proclaimed Gallay. “This decision effectively stops the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from relicensing Indian Point.  The Coastal Zone Management Act gives the New York Secretary of State the authority to refuse certification of any project that significantly impacts river resources. In late 2015, the Secretary of State ruled that Indian Point was inconsistent with over a dozen policies designed to protect the Hudson River and its surrounding communities.”

The ruling complicates the relicensing review but does not stop it. The review is being conducted by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission


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