Saturday, January 7, 2017

Indian Point to be Closed and Montrose 9 Sentenced, One Step Up and Two Back

 (Brennan Cavanaugh/Time’s Up! Flickr)

(Flickr User Gamma Blog)

I could not have been happier to hear that the Indian Point power plant is finally going to be shut down.   A few friends and I spent must of the summer of 2011 working on plans to highlight the problems at Indian Point.   "No Fukushima on the Hudson," we declared working on a banner to hang on the Clearwater Sloop as we sailed by the old plant. The police chased us as we rode from the Lower East Side up to Grand Central Station and back up past Indian Point for our Shut Down before the Meltdown Ride. The event was a huge success but the issue only moved in fits and starts.   Over the next six years Spectra Energy made plans to drill a natural gas pipeline just below the plant.  And activists fought back hard. 

Len Tsou/Barbara Ross,Time’s Up! Flickr

So modern life is all about a few steps forward, followed by a few steps backward.  It was bittersweet yesterday to hear that activists involved in the first wave of actions to stop the pipeline were found guilty in court the same day we heard about Indian Point.    We beat back TPP. Looks like we can still get something done around here. Community groups beat back Indian Point, with government and business agreeing that wind power is more sustainable.  And that is something to be applauded.  

Its also sad to hear about the activists facing guilty charges for their efforts to halt the pipeline which could certainly blow just beneath the nuclear power plant.  

Monica Hunken@monica_hunken Jan 6
We were sentenced to $250 fines each and 5 hours of community service with either the fire department or...

Erik McGregor - Photojournalist

A press release declared:
The  “Montrose 9” pipeline activists that were sentenced today maintain that their
actions were
necessary  to prevent harm to the public posed by the ongoing “AIM” segment expansion of  Spectra Energy’s pipelines
Cortlandt, NY
On Friday morning -  in front of a packed courtroom of over 100 New York residents,
activists, sympathizers and supporters opposed to Spectra’s “AIM” Pipeline -
Cortlandt Town Court Judge Daniel McCarthy issued sentences for nine New York
residents (known as the “Montrose 9”) that were arrested for blocking access to
a Spectra Energy construction yard in November 2015. Each of the nine of the
defendants were fined and sentenced to community service. The defendants had
pled the “Necessity Defense,” arguing that their activity was justified because
it was done to stop a danger more harmful than the violation of the law, and
only after all other legal and regulatory options had been exhausted. The danger
they oppose is Spectra’s “AIM” Pipeline, a high-pressure 42-inch gas pipeline
that runs within 105 feet of critical Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant safety
facilities. Even though Judge Daniel Murphy ultimately rejected this argument,
it is groundbreaking for the necessity defense to be considered, and the
community stands with the “Montrose 9.” The defendants’ lawyer, Martin Stolar,
has filed an appeal with the appellate division of Westchester’s Supreme
their sentencing, the activists vowed that the fight is not over and that the
resistance movement will continue. As “Montrose 9” defendant Linda Snider
stated, “
difficult for me to think of myself as ‘guilty’ when I was trying to stop a
possible catastrophe. The first part of the Spectra pipeline is now in place and
running under the Hudson,
next to a proposed oil barge anchorage site and Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant
in Tompkins Cove. What could go wrong? The huge outcry against this and other
pipelines lead me to believe that the entire Spectra pipeline will, in the end,
never get completed.”

Defendant Susan Rutman agreed, stating:
communities need champions to protect the citizens, not punish those of us who
are taking action and standing up to try to prevent a Fukushima-on-the-Hudson
catastrophe. It is with a very sad heart that I stand before you to be

 Defendant Melissa Friedman stressed, “
an attorney, mother of two and with an ailing partner, I have limited time but I
had to do something,”
a long list of problems related to fracking and climate change. She added,
doomed and it’s time to start acting like it.”
completing the AIM Pipeline, Spectra Energy has only completed one-third of
their overall pipeline expansion project – the “
Pipeline Expansion
This is really one pipeline project disguised as three pipelines in order to
illegally circumvent Spectra Energy’s obligation to identify cumulative impacts
of the project as a whole. So while the AIM battle is over, the Montrose 9
voiced their commitment to winning the overall war in court on
Monica Hunken stated to the Judge,
we have been found guilty, it will not deter us from continuing to peacefully
fight the next two segments of the Spectra pipeline every inch of the way.
Whatever punishment we receive is a small price to pay for defending the land,
air, water and our precious communities...
are here doing our job, being shepherds of the land. If we do not stand up to
corporations, they will mow us down. We cannot allow them to treat us like we
are sacrifice zones. I am doing this for you and your family too."
“AIM” pipeline has been opposed by local residents, countless local officials,
Governor Cuomo, Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand, as well as riddled with
corruption expos
and conflicts of interest. On February 29, 2016,
York State Governor Andrew Cuomo called for an immediate halt to construction
while the state conducts an independent risk assessment
the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied the Governor’s request.
On August 3, 2016, both New York Senators Schumer and Gillibrand wrote to
for an immediate halt to construction of the pipeline
FERC also denied the Senators’ request. In November 2016, it was
publicly that Phil Suter, the spouse of high-ranking FERC official Maggie Suter
– who led the review for two gas pipeline projects by Spectra Energy – is a paid
consultant for Spectra on a related pipeline project. Without further regulatory
action or support from elected officials, residents and advocates have taken
matters into their own hands to directly stop construction.
Mike Bucci questioned the Judge, asking
of the pieces of government have failed us, and now the judicial system has
failed us. Where do we go for protection?"
FERC granted Spectra’s request to place the Stony Point to Yorktown portion of
the AIM Pipeline into service in 2017, Spectra Energy still needs to complete
its Atlantic Bridge and Access Northeast projects for the project to be
financially viable. Resist Spectra and its allies across the northeast will
oppose Spectra Energy’s reckless plans, rampant greed and toxic proposals at
every stage. Factually, these pipelines and their supporting infrastructures are
destructive and put tens-of-millions of lives, communities, and the ecosystems
on which we depend at risk of imminent danger. As defendant Kathleen Thomas
stated in court to Judge McCarthy today,
response to our plea has to do with the word ‘imminent’. When the real danger is
imminent, it will be too late. Once this becomes imminent, we are all gone.
There will be no chance to say ‘I told you so’."
working in solidarity with similar fights across the nation, we will stop
Spectra once and for all.

to photos:
by Erik McGregor
to short video:
by Peter Eliscu


Still Indian Point is closing and this is a reason for cheer. The following is a message from Riverkeeper.

Riverkeeper, New York State, and Entergy sign a landmark agreement to close Indian Point by 2021

“It’s a win for the safety of our communities, a win for the Hudson River and all the rich variety of life within it, and a win for a clean, sustainable energy future.”
- Paul Gallay

Dear Benjamin,

We are experiencing history in the making. It is the accumulation of countless hours of advocacy, legal expertise and fighting for what’s right for the River that has lead to this triumphant moment: Indian Point will now close by 2021

It is this joining of hands with friends and neighbors like you, in communities all along the Hudson River that made this big win possible. Thank you, Benjamin!

Here are some details on this groundbreaking news:

1)      The plant is closing early. This agreement cuts 14 years off the closing date requested by Entergy. The plant is now set to close in four years: Reactor 2 by April 30, 2020 and Reactor 3 by April 30, 2021. These dates are very likely sooner than what we could have achieved through litigation, which could have dragged on much longer, with an unsecure outcome. 

2)      The region will be safer. Not only will Indian point close on a hugely accelerated timetable, Entergy will also move a set yearly number of spent fuel rods from their dangerous storage pools to dry storage tasks on site – a much safer solution for this radioactive material. In addition, Entergy and New York State will increase the frequency of inspections of baffle bolts and other problematic structures until the plant’s closure.

3)      The region will go green. With the closure of the plant, there will be an increase in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Closing the plant will be carbon neutral or have no appreciable impact on carbon loading. There are new, clean sources of energy set to replace the energy generated by the plant - which will also provide new, well-paying jobs in the region.

4)      The river can begin to recover. Closing Indian Point will end the destruction of one billion river creatures each year. In addition, Entergy will set up a $15 million environment and community fund to be used for remediation and restoration projects on the Hudson, to compensate for damage to the river during the four-year period of continued operations. Environmental funding will prioritize dam removal, wetlands protection, control of invasive species and habitat surveys.

5)   We will be overseeing the closure. In signing this agreement, Riverkeeper retains the right to monitor and strictly enforce Entergy’s compliance with its obligations under the closure agreement; challenge and take enforcement action against any future violations Entergy may commit at Indian Point; and challenge any extension of the 2020 and 2021 closure deadlines. 

Your safety is of utmost importance to us. Over the next four years, Riverkeeper is going to keep a close eye on Entergy to make sure the plant closes responsibly, and forever. It has been a long road, decades in the making and friends like you are the reason Riverkeeper was able to keep up this fight – and win! 

With much gratitude,

Paul Gallay headshot Paul Gallay
Hudson Riverkeeper

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