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Activists Intend to Sue Entergy

Three Massachusetts activists have announced intentions to sue Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station owner Entergy Corp., for continuously polluting Cape Cod Bay over the past 16 years.

Massachusetts activists have announced plans to sue the owners of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station for what they say is the continuous pollution of Cape Cod Bay over the last 16 years.

According to CNBC, "the three activists, represented by Ecolaw, notified the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday of their intent to sue the plant's owner, New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. They say the Plymouth plant damaged the local ecology by discharging chemical pollution and water heated far above allowed standards.

The activists say Pilgrim has more than 33,000 violations of the Clean Water Act since 1996 and charge that the company could be liable for $831 million in penalties, at $25,000 per violation.

In a separate letter Friday, Ecolaw also told the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection it intends to sue the agency for allegedly allowing Entergy to damage the environment.

Pilgrim was relicensed in June after more than six years and 14,000 hours of review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The decision has been appealed by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley and questioned by state and federal legislators.

Ecolaw said it notified state and federal agencies of its intent to sue under laws that allow citizens to act if the government fails to enforce the law.

The group told the EPA it's able to sue Entergy if the agency doesn't act within 60 days of the notification. And it says under Massachusetts law it can sue the Department of Environmental Protection if the state does not act with 21 days of its Friday notification to that agency.

Among the activists is Pine duBois of Kingston, who is the director of the Jones River Watershed Association. The Jones River is the largest watershed on Cape Cod Bay.

Plymouth Patch is waiting for responses to requests for comments from both duBois and Entergy, and will update this story when we receive more information.

UPDATE:

Here is Entergy's official response to the pending suit, from Carol Wightman at Pilgrim.

“Entergy takes its environmental responsibilities and any allegation of noncompliance seriously. We will respond to the notice of intent after we have had a chance to thoroughly review the specific allegations. We note that Eco Law unsuccessfully raised a number of these allegations in the NRC license renewal proceeding for Pilgrim Station.”

SECOND UPDATE:

Pine duBois answered a request for comments by saying "Our ocean is not Entergy’s dump. Cape Cod Bay belongs to all of us. Our regulators should enforcing the laws that prevent this kind of pollution."

Attorney and Plymouth resident Meg Sheehan, one of the attorneys representing the residents said, "Our oceans and fisheries are in terrible shape, and stopping Entergy’s pollution is one way to make things better. The Bay belongs to all of us.  It is vital to tourism and is part of our natural and marine heritage. Pilgrim has been polluting Cape Cod Bay for over 40 years. Enough is enough."

Ouie Boscoe October 10, 2012 at 05:13 PM
This is amazing the criteria they are using can be applied to every power plant that uses river, lake or ocean water for cooling so why aren't they suing all of these companies also. Another example of baseless claims just to get attention, money and scare the public with lies.
wedge October 10, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Lies? The laws the law.
Ouie Boscoe October 10, 2012 at 06:51 PM
If they really broke any laws the EPA and Feds would be prosecuting them . The Pilgrim Coalition makes up BS to scare the public into turning against Nuclear Power.
Anna Baker October 11, 2012 at 01:35 AM
This is not about being pro- or anti- nuclear. This is about ENFORCING the law to protect the region. Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station's Clean Water permit expired 16 years ago. If the EPA could get its act together it would require that Pilgrim receive a new permit. Thankfully, the Clean Water Act includes specific provisions that allow citizens the right to enfornce its regulations if government fails to do so.
Ouie Boscoe October 11, 2012 at 10:24 AM
I am so confused now, you are saying that it is all about a permit. But the article says that the complaint is that Entergy is basically polluting the planet with hazardous chemicals and turning the ocean into a giant hot tub. But you are saying if they just had a permit all is OK?
Anna Baker October 11, 2012 at 12:06 PM
No, the problem is multi-fold. Sorry for the confusion. 1) Their Clean Water permit has expired 16 years ago. 2) The EPA is not enforcing the law. 3) There are several ways that the reactor is "polluting" the bay (including the way it sucks in and kills river herring and other species, tritium leaks in the aquifer, etc.) Entergy's discharges violate Massachusetts' regulations -- the permit is just one example of how the government is not helping the cause right now.
Ouie Boscoe October 11, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Ok and my point is that every power plant that uses river, lake and ocean water for intake works the same whether it is nuclear or non nuclear. So why are you not protesting and suing these companies there is no difference on how the cooling water is used. The only difference is how the steam is produced. And by the way the reactor does not suck in water the water never even comes close to the reactor. That is one reason why Entergy and the NRC laughs at the Coalition they have no technical knowledge of how power plants work. They just are anti-nuclear and do not care about facts. If You were truly serious about what you said you would be protesting every power plant in the country that produces electricity by heat.
Ouie Boscoe October 11, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Also if it is true that Pilgrim is polluting and violating laws. It is being done by the same Union members you people so proudly backed during the lockout so you in fact are calling those people criminals. It is the union operators that manipulate the machinery that dump this pollution into the ocean. So you should have them prosecuted and fined also. If you really are concerned with stopping Pilgrims pollution.
Ouie Boscoe October 11, 2012 at 12:36 PM
What Documents they prove they exceed regulations that the public can see instead of taking your word. Just the facts ma'am :-)
Anna Baker October 11, 2012 at 02:06 PM
In terms of documentation that Pilgrim exceeds regulation, reports were gathered from state and federal agencies over the past 10 months and analyzed to see if Entergy is complying with the law. Entergy is not. To read more about what I am referring to, visit this webpage and scroll about half way down to read "Entergy Dec. 2011 Pollution Report": http://www.capecodbaywatch.org/pollution-violations/ The concerned citizens here are focusing on our local reactor, which is a Mark 1, and the problems in our region. It is not possible for us to take on all reactors at one time, though you are right that all Mark 1 nuclear reactors face significant issues. Concerned citizens back union workers for many reasons, including that the reactor needs staff to function safely. If what you say is true that they are manipulating the system then we would raise that as an issue though it is not clear that this is the case. It is the reactor itself that is the problem. Lastly, the Pilgrim Coalition is not directly involved with this lawsuit, but you should know that it is comprised of many organizations and individuals who are well informed on the issues of nuclear safety. The Coalition most certainly DOES care about facts.
Meg Sheehan October 11, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Over the past 40 years that the Clean Water Act has been on the books, hundreds of lawsuits have been brought by citizens against power plants and industries across the U.S., just like Entergy's, that use once-through cooling water systems that are outdated and destructive. The law imposes strict liability: if the company's own reports show a violation, they are liable. That's the deal here. Entergy's violations at Pilgrim are documented by their own discharge monitoring reports. You can get them from Entergy or EPA or check out an example on http://www.capecodbaywatch.org/pollution-violations/ If you look at the notice of intent to sue letters posted on the website, you will see the violations are painstakingly documented according to date and type of violation, based on Entergy's reports. This is based on hundreds of hours of volunteer research. Unfortunately, EPA and the state are not enforcing the law. You will see from the state's responses in the press that they are taking the allegations seriously and investigating. They're not laughing. Entergy and the NRC might think this is a laughing matter, as you say, Ouie, but most people don't. According to NOAA, Entergy has created thermal plume of pollution in the Bay of over four square miles. And that's based on Entergy's own info too.
Ouie Boscoe October 11, 2012 at 03:34 PM
No Anna I did not say all nuclear power it is any power plant that uses intake water that discharges back to the environment that I am speaking of. That includes coal, gas or anything that will burn to produce heat and even solar powered if there are any. They all take in water to condense steam from the turbines and cool equipment. Pilgrim is not the only source of thermal discharge into the bay. If Pilgrim is intentionally violating the law I am with You. But your link only shows one instance where they notified authority's. You are claiming 33,000 violations. And if once thru heat exchangers are destructive what are they to replace them with as that is a common system from land based to ship based systems that cool equipment. As for the EPA yes good luck as they have been hijacked by BArack Obama and his cronies to launder taxpayer money to cronies and shove useless windmills down our throats in the name of green jobs.
Ouie Boscoe October 12, 2012 at 11:24 AM
Meg Why don't you explain to the public just what chemicals that Entergy is destroying the earth with. Explain in detail every chemical that is in this lawsuit and how it is used. Also be very honest with the public make sure you tell them that one of the same chemicals you claim Entergy is destroying the planet with is used in almost every household, it is used in your drinking water, it is used in great quantities in sewage disposal before that is dumped into the ocean. It is used in swimming pools. Women use it in their hair. Please be honest and let the public know the whole truth. Not just your so called truth that is used to scare the public. Please tell the public if Entergey management is ordering the union workers to in printed procedures., or if our neighbors, brothers and sisters are intentionally polluting the harbor by disregarding Entergy procedures. You owe that to the public. You have all the facts so don't lie to us and tell us you don't know any of this. yes I agree that intakes that Pilgrim uses is harmful to fish but that is not illehal. So please Meg don't just sit there and scream murder without explaining to the people you want to scare the entire facts. because if you don't you are no better than the people you are claiming that is destroying the planet
Ernie Douglas November 04, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Frivolous lawsuits like this tie up the courts and only enrich the lawyers. Hey wait, Meg's a lawyer!
Anna Baker November 04, 2012 at 07:21 PM
I'm not sure who you are, Ernie, but if you believe lawsuits that protect large areas of water and local residents from contamination are frivolous, you probably have some connection to the industry.

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