Friday, November 30, 2007

Giving Credit To Standard Bearers in Indian Point Battle

This has been a very emotional week for Green Nuclear Butterfly, and our grassroots group, FUSE USA. Due to some horrific rookie mistakes on the part of Susan Shapiro in filing our many FUSE USA petitions with the NRC, every single one of our contentions were dismissed and set aside. I do not feel the NRC, and the Atomic Safety Board (a bias pro nuclear board if one ever existed) acted fairly in their unilateral decision, but I also cannot argue with their belief that a licensed attorney at law like Susan Shapiro should have known better, should have known the basic steps required to execute a Certificate of Service, and see that all parties were adequately served. Oh well, water over the bridge, and in the fight to close Indian Point, we here at GNB, and over at FUSE USA simply do not have time to cry over spilt milk.

Pulling a 48 hour stretch, FUSE USA revamped our contentions, and filed them with the NRC early this morning with a proper Certificate of Service to all parties. Further, hard copies of said filings are being mailed First Class delivery to all parties of record as of the time of the filing early this morning. We also made sure to include our Notice of Appearance, so it seems we have all our I's dotted, and T's crossed. If we missed one or two, one would hope that the NRC and the Atomic Safety Board would do what is in the best interest of Public Health and Safety, rather than kowtowing to NEI and the nuclear industry, and give us a chance to fix minor errors, rather than simply trying to deny us our rightful involvement in the process...however, we will not hold our breath waiting for said board to DO THE RIGHT THING.

That being said, lets go on the record here. FUSE USA, Green Nuclear Butterfly and Sherwood Martinelli want to let it be known, that the NRC's rules and regulations have been deliberately set up to see citizens fail. Neither NRC, nor the nuclear industry want us actively involved in the process, so they hold AVERAGE CITIZENS to the SAME STANDARDS that licensed attorneys are held to. That is WRONG. Further, by holding average citizens, and small unfunded or under funded grassroots organizations to the same standards as attorneys, raises a serious Environmental Justice issue. A community's right to redress and representation in the process should not be curtailed, even eliminated because of a lack of money. Complicated procedural rules in the Licensing Renewal Hearing process that can only be understood by high priced attorneys does exactly that...denies poor unfunded or under funded citizens and grassroots organizations our voice in the process. As a perfect example, FUSE USA is having to spend money we do not have refiling our petitions. We are talking thousands of pages of printing has to be paid for, several hundreds of dollars in postage has to be covered. Unlike Entergy, we do not have a multi-million dollar budget to work with, are facing a real hardship in having to resubmit our documents. The board should be ASHAMED of itself for caving into Entergy's back room demands, carefully presented publicly to avoid any appearance of wrongdoing in their Motion To Strike that was inconveniently filed on the Eve of Thanksgiving.

FUSE USA had our contentions tossed out, not because they did not have merit, not because they failed to raise serious health, safety and environmental issues that are or should be in scope, but on technicalities. Entergy, and other key players (such as NY AREA, and the New York City Economic Development Corporation) want us out of the game, want to sink our small row boat before we even get fully into the water. That is not the intent of the Intervention Process, but it sadly is the reality. Those with the most money, the shrewdest attorney almost always win. Contentions that should be heard and that are worthy of further review because they were not worded EXACTLY RIGHT. That is WRONG.

We all know this is an uphill fight, and we know that our side is outgunned. Entergy has a $40 million dollar war chest, and some of the finest demon spawn attorneys from hell that money can buy. Couple this with Entergy, and the nuclear industry's (NEI) multi-million dollar propaganda campaign, and it is obvious that our side has the deck STACKED AGAINST US. That's OK, we here at GNB and FUSE USA like being the dark horse, the long shot in a star filled field.

So, let's applaud some of the Standard Bearers in the fight to "Close Indian Point", acknowledge those that are marching us into the Valley of Death.

Today, Nancy Burton of Mothball Millstone weighed into the fight, and we could not ask for a more seasoned veteran. Millstone, much like Vermont Yankee and Entergy's decaying Indian Point represents one of the most despicable and unsafe facilities in the entire American Nuclear Fleet of decrepit reactors. Never giving up, fighting against overwhelming odds, Nancy Burton this week was able to argue her issues before Connecticut's Highest Court. She's a trooper, and glad to know she is going to be in this fight to the bitter end.

Flanking her in this David verse Goliath on steroids fight is Westchester County Commissioner Andy, I have to admit to having some differences with Andy Spano (do not like his robo dialer). So, when we here at GNB state that he is a serious warrior that has his heart in the right place where Indian Point is concerned, we hope it carries a LOT OF WEIGHT. He understands what is involved for our community, understands that Indian Point MUST BE CLOSED. He has been in this fight for a long time, was been battling Indian Point in the courts long before Entergy filed their License Renewal Application. Unlike Hillary Clinton, Maurice Hinchey, Nita Lowey, and sadly, even John Hall, Andrew Spano is willing to take a stand, and is DOING EVERYTHING HE CAN to shut down an unsafe nuclear facility. For that, he has the respect of GNB, and FUSE USA.

The State Attorney Generals of numerous states, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont deserve credit for their involvement in this and other fights to close down dangerous reactors. Groups like NIRS, WISE and Mothers For Peace all deserve a standing ovation. NEC up in Vermont is another dedicated group of warriors that are giving Entergy a serious battle, and as the old saying goes, "It ain't over till the fat lady sings."

There are other groups, well funded groups that should and must do more, have been far to silent so far in this battle. With Kennedy's recent endorsement of Hillary Clinton (who has taken BIG MONEY from Entergy and NEI donors), Riverkeeper needs to publicly DISTANCE THEMSELVES from Kennedy, as he is betraying the cause, is not being the stand up player that he should be in this fight. Further, we here at GNB hope that Riverkeeper and Clearwater when they file their contentions have not narrowed their fight to a very small group of contentions doomed to failure, not really aimed at closing down the aging, dangerous Indian Point facility. They get the LION's SHARE of the GREEN DONATIONS, and as organizations with the most, it is right to expect them to be doing the most. It is fundamentally wrong for Riverkeeper to be holding a Donor's breakfast at the home of the Rockefeller Fund, and DENYING other grassroots organizations a SEAT AT THE TABLE. God forbid that some of the smaller groups that are in this fight steal a crumb or two of support from one of their donors!

This more than any other License Renewal fight is a defining moment, will decide the path we as a community, and a nation will travel. So far, the NRC has wrongfully granted 48 reactor operators a License Renewal over community objections. However, with the gallant efforts of the folks up in Brattleboro, with Mothers For Peace stunning victory in the Ninth Circuit Court, the tide has begun to turn. Respected leaders are now speaking out AGAINST GNEP, and average citizens are beginning to realize that nuclear is not as safe and green as the industry tries to make us believe it is. If we stop the License Renewal of Indian Point, there is a good chance we stop the Nuclear Renaissance train from leaving the station, and that is a fight we need to all be involved in. For ourselves, and for our children, License Renewal for Indian Point must be stopped at all cost.

This is a "All Hands on Deck" movement, and we need every boat in the water if we are going to have a chance of killing the nuclear giant that is Entergy. So, to the real leaders in this movement, a heartfelt thank you as we all prepare to march into a battle that is going to get very ugly.

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