Senator Dan Wolf
Massachusetts Cape & Islands District
Cape Cod Bay Watch Asks U.S. EPA:
Terminate Pilgrim Nuclear Water Pollution Permit Due to Unacceptable Destruction of Cape Cod Bay’s Marine Resources

Plymouth, MA – The local conservation group Cape Cod Bay Watch has asked the U.S. EPA to immediately terminate Pilgrim Nuclear’s Clean Water Act wastewater discharge permit. The permit has been expired for nearly 18 years, but EPA has continued to allow Pilgrim to operate with the expired permit and its obsolete technology. Terminating the permit would mean that Pilgrim’s owner, Entergy Nuclear Generation Co., could no longer take sea water from Cape Cod Bay as a cooling water source, and could no longer dump the polluted and heated wastewater back into the Bay. CCBW and other groups have long been concerned about Pilgrim’s destruction of marine resources over its 41 years of operations.

In a letter to EPA dated January 28, 2014, the group says EPA promised to issue a revised draft permit for public review by December 2013. EPA missed that deadline, and the agency now claims the new date is September 2014. Citing “the egregiousness of EPA’s failure to address Pilgrim’s expired permit” and the “history of delay, broken promises, and failure of EPA to translate its words into action,” the group wants the permit terminated.

“The natural resources in Cape Cod Bay that Pilgrim destroys – such as fish, larvae, plankton and the larger marine wildlife that depend on those species – are public resources. The Clean Water Act was never intended to give Entergy a right to destroy these resources for an indefinite period. Entergy is supposed to be using the “best available technology” for its cooling water system, and the destructive once-through cooling system it uses now is antiquated and unacceptable. Enough is enough,” said CCBW spokesperson Karen Vale.

“EPA has publicly stated that addressing Pilgrim’s expired wastewater discharge permit is a priority due to the environmental threat posed by the plant’s water withdrawals and discharges into Cape Cod Bay,” said Earthrise Law Center attorney Kevin Cassidy. “Unfortunately, EPA hasn’t backed up its words with resources to do the job. And meanwhile, the ecosystem of Cape Cod Bay continues to suffer the consequences.”

“The Clean Water Act has been one of our nation’s most important pieces of environmental legislation,” added Massachusetts state Senator Dan Wolf (D-Harwich), who represents the Cape and Islands. “I believe the EPA should enforce its requirements as they relate to the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, and that this should be a top priority for our state and region.”

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