New York officials claim power plant is killing endangered fish

May 24, 2010 09:36

New York's largest power provider may be shut down amidst concerns endangered fish species are threatened by the plant, reports with reference to Greenpeace.

The Indian Point Energy Center provides energy for roughly 18 to 38 percent of the New York metropolitan area. To cool the plant's reactors, up to 2.5 billion gallons of water from the Hudson River are used each day. Under the plant's controversial "once-through" water process, almost a billion organisms, including endangered shortnose sturgeon eggs, are sucked into the facility's system and killed each year, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

In April, the DEC refused to grant the plant's owner, Entergy Nuclear, a water quality permit. The agency said it is illegal to kill any shortnose sturgeon, and it would allow the plant to operate only if a greener "closed-cycle," water collection system was used, according to The Associated Press. More than 30 percent of power plants nationwide have been ordered to phase out "once-through," systems, in favor of more eco-friendly devices to reduce the number of fish killed.

If the DEC does not provide the facility with a water permit, it would mark the first time in the history of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that a nuclear power plant was unable to renew its federal license.

A study commissioned by the nonprofit organization Riverkeeper in 2008 found power plants, such as the Indian Point facility, have contributed to a decline in 10 of 13 native fishable species in the Hudson River.

Entergy disputes Riverkeeper's study and claims the switch would cost more than $1 billion and could lead to rolling blackouts for New York City and Westchester.

"I would think that in the end, there has to be some kind of a compromise because I don't see how you replace that kind of power," said environmental lawyer Charles S. Warren, a former regional administrator with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to the AP. "Recycling and windmills don't get you there."

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