Clean Water Act Law and Pilgrim | Cape Cod Bay Watch

Clean Water Act Law and Pilgrim

Entergy’s use of Cape Cod Bay as a dumping ground and water source is regulated by state and federal Clean Water Act laws. These laws have been on the books since the 1940s, but state and federal enforcement is lacking. Under the Clean Water Act, Entergy was issued a “NPDES” permit. This NPDES permit regulates Entergy’s discharge of pollutants to Cape Cod Bay and its water intake. Entergy’s NPDES permit is based on outdated information and has been expired for 18 years and counting!

Entergy also had to demonstrate to permitting authorities that Pilgrim’s discharge would not harm the indigenous aquatic community. To demonstrate this, Entergy only considered Pilgrim’s impact on 13 representative species. Entergy’s report also states that there are no rare or endangered species in the vicinity of Pilgrim – which is false. Much of the information that Pilgrim’s expired permit is based on today is outdated – from the 1970s and 1980s.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are responsible for ensuring Entergy’s NPDES permit is up-to-date and the company is in compliance.

EPA and DEP recently told the public they would be would be updating Entergy’s NPDES permit by December 2013. They missed this deadline. Now EPA and DEP are promising to update the permit by September 2014. It is important that the agencies keep their commitment this time!

UPDATE: In a letter dated January 28, 2014, Cape Cod Bay Watch has asked the U.S. EPA to immediately terminate Pilgrim’s NPDES permit due to the unacceptable delay in renewing the 18-year expired permit, and the destruction of marine resources in Cape Cod Bay for more than 40 years. Learn more here >>

NRC Relicensing in 2012

In May, 2012, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) renewed Entergy’s operating license for Pilgrim for another 20 years — even though Entergy’s Clean Water Act NPDES permit was expired.  Local groups objected to this, but the NRC said it was the job of EPA and DEP to renew the NPDES permit.

Entergy’s Clean Water Act Violations

In October 2012, local residents began to take steps to hold Entergy accountable for Clean Water Act violations.  Under the Clean Water Act, they sent a notice of intent to sue letter to Entergy and state and federal regulators.  The letter outlines Pilgrim’s 33,000+ violations of the federal Clean Water Act, and claims that Entergy is liable for $831,325,000.00 in civil penalties for polluting Cape Cod Bay.

The letter is based on Entergy’s own reporting of the violations. Here is an example. Residents are evaluating their litigation options in light of recent developments and have not filed a lawsuit in court yet.

Damage to the Environment Legal Challenge

In October 2012, 17 residents notified Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) of their intent to sue if the agency fails to stop Entergy’s water pollution at Pilgrim. The residents are currently evaluating their litigation options in light of recent developments and have not filed a lawsuit in court yet.

via Clean Water Act Law and Pilgrim | Cape Cod Bay Watch.

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