OSSINING, NY — June 23, 2018 — Late yesterday afternoon, four New York State agencies released the executive summary of a long-awaited risk assessment of the Algonquin Incremental Market pipeline near Indian Point Energy Center in Westchester County. The agencies, the State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Department of Public Service, Department of Health, and the Department of Environmental Conservation, also wrote to the Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requesting that the commission take additional action to mitigate and further investigate the potential risks posed by the pipelines.
Riverkeeper is glad to finally see the long overdue release of portions of this report. While many questions remain, the State’s following four demands of FERC represent useful steps forward:
- Nick calls on FERC to ensure that the pipelines at least meet the assumptions of the previous safety assessment that they can be shut down quickly and their permitted operating pressures are not exceeded;
- NYS tells FERC that during Indian Point operation and while fuel remains in the spent fuel pool no additional capacity or pressure increase should be allowed;
- NYS asks FERC re-evaluate the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) and Entergy’s analyses of risks to Indian Point because of questions about the methodologies they used and concerns about risks associated with the spent fuel pools and potential seismic activity; and
- NYS tells FERC and NRC that they must coordinate on a review of the Indian Point decommissioning plan and suggests that it may be necessary to temporarily close the pipelines when decommissioning work must occur in their vicinity.
“The report shows that there is a risk of harm to people living close to the pipeline. In view of this risk, it’s concerning that the publicly-disclosed portion of the report merely provides a one-sentence assurance that the current event scenarios would not be ‘expected to impact the safe operation’ of Indian Point, without providing or referencing any justification.” said Richard Webster, Legal Director of Riverkeeper.
“We call on the the State, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to collaborate on all necessary measures to keep us safe from any potential catastrophe involving these pipelines and their proximity to Indian Point,” said Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay. “It is our hope that this risk assessment is only be the beginning of a more aggressive approach by the three agencies responsible for keeping us safe from the risks of having such potentially disastrous facilities and infrastructure in such close proximity to one another. In addition, the State must at least inform the public what analysis justifies the conclusion regarding Indian Point safety and whether additional protection for population centers along the pipeline is warranted.”
Riverkeeper is member-supported watchdog organization dedicated to defending the Hudson River and its tributaries, and protecting the drinking water supply of more than nine million New York City and Hudson Valley residents. Since its beginnings more than a half century ago, Riverkeeper has helped to establish globally recognized standards for waterway and watershed protection and serves as the model and mentor for the growing Waterkeeper movement that includes more than 300 programs around the globe. Visit us at www.riverkeeper.org.
SOURCE: Cliff Weathers, Riverkeeper Communications Director