Gov. Hochul signs legislation restricting discharge of radioactive waste into Hudson River

The legislation enforces constraints on the release of radiological substances into the Hudson River during the decommissioning of the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan.

News 12 Staff

Aug 18, 2023, 5:34 PM

Updated 249 days ago

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Gov. Kathy Hochul has officially signed legislation into law with the aim of preserving the economic well-being of the Hudson River region.
The legislation enforces constraints on the release of radiological substances into the Hudson River during the decommissioning of the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan.
In her statement, Hochul emphasized the significance of the Hudson River as a natural treasure of New York, underlining the collective responsibility to safeguard it for future generations.
“My administration remains committed to protecting the economic vitality of the region and working closely with local communities who have advocated so passionately for this cause.”
The law's primary objective is to protect the communities within New York's Hudson Valley region. The administration intends to maintain a collaborative approach, working closely with federal regulators, Holtec, local authorities and the state's Decommissioning Oversight Board. This collaboration aims to identify practical and acceptable alternatives for wastewater disposal.
Activists against the dumping held several large protests calling on the Hochul to sign this legislation. Hochul even mentioned those who had been advocating for the bill in the announcement of the signing.
"To me, it's real evidence that organizing works. When people come together, we can win, and we can win even in the face of a huge multi-million dollar company," said Alex Beauchamp, of Food and Water Watch.
About 400,000 people signed a petition urging the Hochul to sign the bill, but for others, this signing was not well received.
"Our voices are not going to be drowned out. It is not happening," said Village of Buchanan Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker. She is also on the state decommissioning oversight board. She said from what she has heard during board meetings, dumping should be allowed.
"Listening to the facts, and listening to the data, I strongly feel that this is the safest option. And I live here too, I have lived here my whole life," Knickerbocker said. She calls the other waste disposal options -- including housing it on the property -- unviable.
Like Knickerbocker, Holtec, the company behind the plan to dispose radiological substances into the Hudson River, is also not happy with the signing, saying in a statement, "We are disappointed that the Governor has signed bill S.6893/A.7208. We firmly believe that this legislation is preempted by federal law and that the discharge of monitored, processed, and treated water would not impact the environment or the health and safety of the public."
Others are thrilled over Hochul's signing of this legislation.
State Sen. Pete Harckham, one of the politicians behind this bill, said they have spent millions and decades cleaning up the river. He said dumping radioactive waste now would hurt local communities.
"It's about protecting the economic viability and the robust growth that we have had in the lower Hudson Valley," Harckham said.


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