Activists Plan to Sue Massachusetts Nuclear Plant Owner

October 12, 2012

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.

The three activists, represented by Ecolaw, notified the Environmental Protection Agency last 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 last Friday, Ecolaw also told the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection it intends to sue the agency for allegedly allowing Entergy to damage the environment.

Pine duBois, one of the three residents who signed the notification to the EPA, said regulators have a duty to enforce anti-pollution laws. “Our ocean is not Entergy’s dump,” she said in a news release. “Cape Cod Bay belongs to all of us.”

The Department of Environmental Protection said Tuesday it had just received the letter.

“We are currently reviewing each allegation contained in it,” the agency said in a statement.

Messages were left for Entergy and the EPA.

Pilgrim was relicensed earlier this year after 6 1/2 years of review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The relicensing means the commission has certified that the plant, built in 1972, can operate safely for another 20 years.

NRC officials have noted its staff devoted approximately 14,600 hours to the review, which was the longest of any renewal application in the agency’s history.

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.

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