We, the Westchester County Board of Legislators, vehemently oppose plans to dump an estimated one million gallons of radioactive wastewater containing carcinogenic contaminants into the Hudson River. This would undermine decades of successful environmental conservation and cleanup efforts on the Hudson River. Moreover, this disposal method poses disastrous health risks to plant, marine, and human life. For this reason, on March 6, 2023, our Board passed a resolution to amplify these concerns and opposition to the proposal. We were joined by our sister county, Rockland, who passed a similar resolution on March 9.

Despite public outrage, Holtec International, the company responsible for decommissioning the Indian Point facility, has proclaimed the disposal into the Hudson River as one of the best options for removal. The company explained that the waste would be filtered to reduce the content of carcinogenic contaminants to a level that is as low as reasonably achievable. However, the National Academy of Science states that there is no verifiably safe level of these isotopes when ingested or inhaled. Since the pre-release treatment does not filter out tritium (T or 3H), a known carcinogen, the public fears it will threaten those who rely on the river for their drinking water. Currently, seven municipalities draw drinking water from the Hudson River. Additionally, through environmental restoration, the river is now a popular destination for recreational activities such as kayaking and fishing.

Furthermore, this Board supports state-level legislation proposed by State Senator Pete Harckham and Assembly Member Dana Levenberg that would ban the release of any radioactive agent into the waters of the state (S.5181). This bill will bring stronger protections and oversight into the decommissioning process at Indian Point.

We urge Holtec International to consider the environmental factors of its waste removal options seriously. A company’s bottom line should not supersede what is right for the environment and the health of the communities where they operate. Our generation and those who come after will be the ones who will have to live with the effects of this decision long after this decommissioning concludes.

Catherine Borgia
Chairwoman, Westchester County Board of Legislators