A proposal to ban the discharging of radioactive material into the Hudson River has cleared key legislative committees in the state Senate and Assembly as lawmakers eye a final vote in the coming days.
The measure, proposed as a way of further regulating the decommissioning of the Indian Point Energy Center in Westchester County, has advanced through the Environmental Conservation Committees in both chambers.
Lawmakers want to punish violators with fines of up to $25,000 a day. A daily $50,000 fine would be levied for a second violation. Multiple violations after that would lead to fines of $150,000 a day, lawmakers said.
But the bill faces opposition from the company that currently oversees Indian Point, which has argued the measure is too potentially burdensome.
Supporters of the bill contend it is needed to protect a historically important waterway and ecological system.
“We have to protect the economic vitality of the communities alongside the Hudson River, which is the backbone of the region, every which way we can– this means being hyper-vigilant about any actions that could cause home and business owners to suffer economic distress,” said Sen. Peter Harckham. “The best way to protect the economic interests along the river is to keep this important natural resource as free from contaminants as possible.”
Holtec, the company that oversees the site, had previously raised concerns with the legislation.
“As a part of both the operation of nuclear power plants and during the decommissioning of reactors plants discharge treated liquid effluent according to state and federal permits, and well below safe release limits set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission," the company said. "Indian Point is no different, with valid state and federal permits in place the facility has discharged treated water to the Hudson since 1962. The data on these releases are publicly available on the NRC’s website for Indian Point and all reactors."