The issues at the several days of hearings that began on Monday may be more technical than in the past, but the arguments being bantered about are nothing new. Opponents say Indian Point is a serious threat and must be shut down. Supporters say the plant is safe and supports the local economy with jobs and at the plant and in the surrounding communities.
The hearings that began on Monday may run for weeks, but not everyone on both sides will be formally heard.
Al Samuels, president of the Rockland Business Association, said during a pre-hearing news conference, that Indian Point, in his view, is a unifying factor.
“The tension that exists between the environmental community and the business community … these were all impediments. Know what wasn’t – Indian Point”, Samuels said. “People who look at this region see Indian Point as a plus in terms of economic development.”
Several labor unions spoke in support of keeping the plant open. Their point, now as in the past, is thousands of jobs at the plant and the spinoff impact for the local economy.
That’s not what is driving critics, including one group that showed up in Tarrytown even though they were not invited to testify at the hearing.
Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition member Laura Sietz said she gives the overall status of their cause mixed grades.
“No way has been provided to address those problems which are of major concerns to people who live in this area” Seitz said. “In that sense, I think it’s worse. On the other hand, it’s better because I think more people are aware of the problems and frustrated by the difficulty of addressing them.”
Those comments from Coalition members came outside the hotel where the hearing was to take place.
“The Coalition does not have a place at the table,” said another member, Marilyn Elie, who noted they are on an ad hoc group of the Citizens Advisory Board to the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board.
“If only they would hear us,” lamented Elie.