To contact decision-makers and media, or sign petitions, scroll down or click here.
Influencing the decision-makers
The nuclear industry is extremely powerful and well-connected, so it’s difficult to affect nuclear policy. Nonetheless there is much that can be done.
All regulatory authority regarding safety has been given to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954. The NRC is often cited as a prime example of regulatory capure – that is, the regulator is essentially owned by the industry that they regulate. When any of the five NRC commissioners resign, the president appoints a replacement. In recent years, substantial decisions by the NRC have been 4-1 votes, with the chair (Allison McFarlane since last July, and Gregory Jaczko before her, both Obama appointees) voting for safety, the others voting for industry profits. A pleasant surprise was the recent vote to permanently close 2 reactors at the San Onofre station in southern California.
Oversight of the NRC is the responsibility of congress, where the situation isn’t much better. There are a few bright lights. Chief among them is Senator Ed Markey (who had been chair of the House Ctte on Energy, then ranking member; I’m not sure how much influence he will have now that he’s a senator) and Senator Barbara Boxer. So writing to your senators and congresspeople is good. The NRC does seem concerned about their public image, and all efforts to expose their incompetence are helpful (recent efforts by the Plymouth selectboard, after years of doting, have caused significant defensive action by the NRC).
States can regulate economic activities as well as health and environmental matters. Both the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act allow states to enact standards more stringent than the federal regulations. The 2013 victory in 15 Cape Towns gained Cape Codders a foot in the door with the Governor and pertinent executive agencies, like the Department of Public Health, (DPH), Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and Department of Public Safety (DPS).
But state agencies have historically given Pilgrim a pass. Pilgrim’s permit to heat and contaminate 510,000,000 gallons of Cape Cod Bay each day expired 17 years ago and yet the DEP has done nothing. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (part of DPS) appears more devoted to Entergy profits than citizen safety. The DPH has monitored a tritium leak at Pilgrim for 10 years, yet the source remains unknown and the tritium continues to pollute ground water and Cape Cod Bay.
At the town level we seek to educate by way of forums, and to promote meaningful safety measures through town meeting articles and ballot questions, the KI for Kids campaign and participation in local decision-making such as the Plymouth Zoning Board of Appeals hearing regarding the construction of Pilgrim’s nuclear waste dump.
Cape Downwinders Cooperative encourages citizens to express their opinion and concerns, exerting their influence where they can, including the following:
Instructions to sign-on to “2.206 petitions” to the NRC.
Petition State and Local Officials: visit Stop Entergy’s Pollution of Cape Cod Bay and Make its Nuclear Waste Storage Safer!