Friday, April 27, 2007

Public Involvement Throttled At Annual Assessment Meeting Again!

That often over used statement, "The good, the bad, and the ugly" in many respects fits yesterday's Indian Point Assessment Meeting. The facility worked well, though I was afraid there would be some parking issues, and there would have been if more members of the general public had bothered to attend. Over all, the event went well, but was not without its problems.

Set up went very well, and Richard Barkley with the NRC was friendly, cordial and helpful. He should sit down with Neil Sheehan and give him some points on working with citizen stakeholders. On a personal note, a special thanks to Richard for helping the Green Nuclear Butterfly get our stuff into the building, as I was a bit helpless with my broken arm.
The best part of the entire day was the afternoon portion (2:30-4:30) of Open House, which was not well attended...this reality gave the various stakeholders who were there a real chance at dialog, though Entergy's staff did not mingle, preferring to stick to themselves with scowls permanently etched into their cold, devoid faces. Thankfully, the folks in the regulatory crowd were far more friendly, and willingly ready to listen and discuss issues. So, to Sam, Karl, Larry, Richard and the others from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the NRC for all you did.

This event kicked off at 2:30, found it very unprofessional that none of the other close Indian Point groups were there and ready on time. IPSEC, Riverkeeper and Clearwater all showed up very late, as if they were either A) above the rules (like Entergy), or B) felt they had no real interest in being there for the slow part of the day. Once they arrived, Clearwater and Riverkeeper did put up impressive tables for the event...IPSEC's presentation on the other hand was pathetic.

Entergy tried to STACK THE EVENT, bringing in well over 100 United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America union members, all in matching shirts and hats for the event. Entergy got really IRKED, because many of their paid henchmen spent a WHOLE LOT OF TIME in front of our table oggling the Radioactive Energy drink we were giving away. Sure Entergy was not pleased seeing many of their crew drinking our Radioactive Energy drink.

The Assessment Meeting was a GRAVE INJUSTICE to those of us that sat through it waiting for our opportunity to add our voice to the mix. Just as I had predicted, citizen stakeholders were short changed, and the process/format of the meeting is fatally flawed and has to be repaired. The regulators and licensee go first, and as usual ate up far to much of the evening's allotted time. Then, unfairly from our perspective, politicians and representatives from the three main close Indian Point Environmental Groups got to go to the front of the line, give long rambling statements, and recieve detailed answers to their questions. By that time, the hour had grown late, and the NRC meeting moderator announced that not every one who had questions would get to voice them, and that our time to comment would be curtailed to one minute...this repetitive problem could be one of the reasons for dwindling public participation.
If I were giving out grades:


Set Up and Open House B+ There is room for improvement, but they really tried.

Evening Meeting D Sorry, but they have to find a better way to include the public, so our voice is heard, our questions answered.

NYDEC A- They still place to much faith in compromising with Entergy.

Entergy D- They had impressive set ups, but no personality, and no heart.

No comments: