01.22.20

SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND, LOWEY CALL ON FEDS TO EXTEND COMMENT PERIOD FOR INDIAN POINT TRANSFER; REPS SAY 30 DAYS ISN’T NEARLY ENOUGH TO ENSURE THOUSANDS OF NY’ERS IMPACTED BY INDIAN POINT’S CLOSURE HAVE THEIR VOICES HEARD

In 2019, Entergy Announced It Would Be Selling The Plant To Holtec For Decommissioning; Tomorrow’s License Transfer Announcement Only Provides Public 30 Days To Comment On Major Agreement 

With Thousands Of NYers Impacted By License Transfer & Decommissioning Of Indian Point, Schumer, Gillibrand And Lowey Call For 30-Day Extension Of Comment Period

Schumer, Gillibrand & Lowey To Feds: Indian Point’s Closure Means Too Much To Too Many—The Public Needs More Time To Comment

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Representative Nita Lowey [NY-17] today called on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to extend the public comment period on the proposed license transfer of Indian Point Energy Center (Indian Point) from Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. (Entergy) to Holtec Decommissioning International (Holtec) from 30 to 60 days.

In April 2019, Entergy, the current owner of Indian Point, announced that it would sell the plant and have the NRC license it to Holtec for decommissioning. Starting tomorrow, the public will have only 30 days to review and comment on the license transfer application, a roughly three hundred-page, comprehensive and technical document that will be a vital roadmap for local officials, stakeholders and residents in the surrounding Westchester and Hudson Valley communities that will be both directly and indirectly impacted by the closure of Indian Point—not nearly enough time to provide thoughtful and meaningful input to NRC, according to Schumer, Gillibrand and Lowey. Therefore, the federal representatives called on NRC to extend the comment period from one to two months, to allow the thousands of community residents, stakeholders, public officials and advocates throughout the Lower Hudson Valley the opportunity to comment, discuss and give meaningful input on the significant decommissioning proposal that will have a drastic impact on the surrounding communities.

“Thirty days is simply not enough time for the thousands of Lower Hudson Valley residents, plant employees, union workers, local businesses, elected officials and all other key local stakeholders to carefully review the dense, technical, three hundred-page license transfer documentation that will prove to be a crucial step in determining how the decommissioning of Indian Point will be executed. These stakeholders are the ones who have had Indian Point in their community for over 50 years and they are the ones who will be both directly and indirectly impacted by the feds' decision on the decommissioning of Indian Point,” said Senator Schumer. “That’s why I’m urging the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend the comment period for Indian Point’s license transfer to Holtec by a month, ensuring that all parties impacted by its closure will have ample time to provide meaningful feedback. I’ll do everything in my power to ensure that the decommissioning of Indian Point happens in a transparent manner, with no community member left in the dark.”

“The public and stakeholders must be given the time to fully review and comment on the proposed transfer of Indian Point’s license from Entergy to Holtec International,” said Senator Gillibrand.  “The closure and decommissioning of Indian Point will have a significant impact on the communities and environment in the Hudson Valley, and we must ensure that any nearby communities have a say in how it is carried out. Extending the comment period will allow a more thorough review of Holtec’s plan.  I will continue to push for a robust public process for every step of the decommissioning process and work with local communities to ensure that their voices are heard.”  

“The NRC must extend the public comment period on the license transfer of Indian Point from Entergy to Holtec,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “Thirty days is simply not enough time for all the stakeholders to share their concerns, and this decision is far too important to be rushed. I hope that the NRC heeds our call and allows for true engagement from our constituents. Anything less is unacceptable.”

The NRC designed the public comment period for license transfer applications to last thirty days with an understanding that the sale of these major facilities involves large sums of capital that await the conclusion of the comment period to proceed. However, Schumer, Gillibrand and Lowey pointed out, in the case of Indian Point that is not the case. Entergy is targeting a May 2021 sale of Indian Point to Holtec, meaning that no capital is waiting on the line for the conclusion of the comment period. With the license transfer application to be published in the Federal Register tomorrow, the conclusion of a month-long extension of the comment period would still be in March 2020, more than a year before the expected closing date of the Indian Point sale.

Furthermore, Schumer, Gillibrand and Lowey explained, New Yorkers throughout the Lower Hudson Valley, specifically in the Westchester community where Indian Point has been located for more than 57 years, deserve adequate time to offer their comments regarding this NRC decision that will impact their daily lives. Indian Point is located in one of New York’s most densely-populated counties, with more than 967,600 residents as of 2018, and accounted for approximately 5,400 in-state jobs including 1,000 full-time Indian Point employees as of 2015. The federal representatives maintained that all employees, including many members of local labor unions going to work each day at Indian Point, to the thousands of residents and local stakeholders with a vested interest in the decommissioning of Indian Point, it is fundamental that the NRC allows ample time for community input.

A copy of Schumer, Gillibrand and Lowey’s letter to the NRC appears below.

Dear Chairman,

We write you today to strongly urge the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to extend the public comment period on the license transfer of Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC) from Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. (ENOI) to Holtec Decommissioning International, LLC (HDI) from thirty days to sixty days.  The roughly three hundred page license transfer application is a comprehensive and technical document that will prove to be a vital roadmap for local officials, stakeholders and residents in the surrounding Westchester and Hudson Valley communities that will be both directly and indirectly impacted by the closure of IPEC. Providing only thirty days for the public to review the document after it is published in the Federal Registrar does not allow the affected communities to provide meaningful input to NRC on this license transfer application. It is imperative that the NRC extend the public comment period to allow the thousands of community residents, stakeholders, public officials and advocates throughout the Lower Hudson Valley the opportunity to comment, discuss and give meaningful input on this significant proposal that will undoubtedly have a drastic impact on their communities within the immediate future.

The NRC designed the public comment period for license transfer applications to last thirty days with an understanding that the sale of these major facilities involved large sums of capital that awaited the conclusion of the comment period to proceed.  In this instance that is not the case. Entergy has noted that they are targeting May 2021 for closing the sale of IPEC to HDI. With no capital waiting on the line for the conclusion of this comment period, an extension of the public comment period would allow the surrounding communities adequate time to provide their input on this transfer. The license transfer application will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow, and the new closing date for the public comment period would be the middle of March 2020, a full year ahead of the sale’s proposed closing date.

Furthermore, our constituents throughout the Lower Hudson Valley, specifically in the Westchester communities where IPEC has been located for over 57 years, and will continue to be a neighbor, deserve adequate time to offer their comments regarding this NRC decision that will impact their daily lives.  IPEC is located in one of New York’s most densely populated counties, with over 967,600 residents as of 2018, and accounted for approximately 5,400 in-state jobs including its 1,000 full-time employees as of 2015.  From employees, including members of local labor unions, going to work each day at IPEC, to the thousands residents and local stakeholders with a vested interest in the decommissioning of Indian Point, it is fundamental that the NRC allows ample time for crucial community input.

We appreciate your efforts to ensure a safe, responsible, and transparent decommissioning of IPEC, however, we believe it is imperative that the public have adequate time to submit their comments and concerns.  It is our sincere request that you extend the public comment period from thirty days to sixty days to gather, comment, and give adequate input from the affected communities. Thank you for your attention to this important matter and please let us know if we can be of any assistance.  

Sincerely,

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