Santosh Nandabalan, a senior organizer for the environmental group Food & Water Watch, said new legislation that would halt the dumping of all radiological wastewater into the Hudson River is critical to preserving one of the state’s most important ecological features.

“It is a huge threat not only to that water, but to the local communities along the river," he said. "Then, there's a vibrant economy that's linked to this river, which would take a massive hit if that dumping went forward.”

The bill is a response to a plan by Holtec that would dispose of about 300,000 gallons of wastewater into the Hudson in September. Despite passing in the Legislature, it doesn’t have the support of everyone.

What You Need To Know

  • The Legislature passed a bill that would prevent the dumping of nuclear wastewater into the Hudson River

  • It comes as Holtec, the company that runs Indian Point, prepares to release 300,000 gallons of nuclear wastewater into the Hudson in September

  • Activists applauded the move while union leaders said if signed into law, it would lead to job losses

Bill Banfield, assistant executive secretary treasurer for the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, said the bill is a misguided attempt to ensure the safety of the river. He says that not releasing the water into the Hudson would essentially stop the decommissioning of Indian Point.

“And reassess how they're going to disperse of this water, whether it's going to be a containment system, which is, from what I understand, this is not the safest way to go with this," Banfield said. "But you are changing, you're changing the rules in midstream.”

Banfield said the water evacuations are safe and follow EPA guidelines. According to him, attempting to stop them would cost the area about 100 jobs.

“Their skills are, for the point, so they would have to be retrained in areas like that," he said. "But just to have your life disrupted, you're looking at this plant, the decommissioning of this plant, is taking anywhere, probably 10 to 15 years.”

Santosh isn’t buying it. He said Indian Point can still be decommissioned without releasing nuclear wastewater into the Hudson.

“This is a corporate playbook that Holtec is using to threaten its workers, saying, 'Hey, if we don't get to dump our waste in the water, we're going to let go of folks,'" Nandabalan said. "The bottom line here is they can hold the waste on site and still decommission it.”