This week marked the start of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board hearings on contentions to the license renewal of Indian Point units 2 and 3. The first day of the hearings, which are taking place at the DoubleTree Hotel in Tarrytown, drew a large crowd, including dozens of Indian Point supporters from labor, business, and community organizations across New York State.
The broad set of plant supporters united under “The Coalition of Labor for Energy and Jobs,” held a press conference shortly before the hearing started. Rank and file members of the utility workers, millwrights, carpenters, teamsters, and boilermakers and their leadership were joined by business and community leaders and energy experts to convey a united message about safety, jobs, and the economy. Each speaker highlighted a different aspect of Indian Point’s role in maintaining New York’s economy, its relationship to jobs in downstate New York, and its strong safety record.
New York AREA Chairman Jerry Kremer pointed out that Indian Point has undergone the most exhaustive license renewal process in the history of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and that the ASLB proceeding is an extension of the NRC’s diligent efforts to conduct an in-depth investigation into Indian Point. “For eight years in a row, the plant received the NRC’s highest safety rating,” said Mr. Kremer, “and we think this will merit license renewal.”
Union leaders echoed Chairman Kremer’s message, stressing the high level of safety and stringent protocols and oversight at the plant. They also noted the importance of Indian Point’s continued operation for the employment of thousands of union workers across the state.
Following the press conference, I had a chance to sit down with Village of Buchanan Mayor Sean Murray who explained how Indian Point is essential for sustaining land values and fueling economic growth in the Village of Buchanan and neighboring communities. He also informed me that a delegation from the City of Cortlandt, the Hendrick Hudson School District, and the Village of Buchanan met with members of the Governor’s cabinet and told them it would be impossible to recoup the loss of tax revenue provided by the plant. According to the Business Council of Westchester, the State would lose an estimated $75 million per year in property taxes and revenue sharing if Indian Point were shut down.
The hearings will resume next Monday, October 22, at 9:00 AM at the DoubleTree Hotel.