Local Republicans Turn Out To Support Christie Oyster Creek Nuke Water Permit Deal
Political Deal – Not “Best Professional Judgement” mandated by Clean Water Act
IÂ contrastedÂ the NY Times’ lame coverage of the US nuclear establishment with the hard hitting coverage of Japan after the Fukushima disaster.
Little did I know that theÂ straw men I sarcastically assembled would come to life today in lovely Lacey Township, NJ.
Life is more absurd Â than art ( watch thisÂ BBC documentary on the historyÂ of 20th Century technology – and especially episode 5Â ”A is for Atom“Â forÂ cultural meanings).
The hearing room was packed with about 75 partisan residents, organized and turned out by the Lacey TownshipÂ Republican Committee chairman.
That local Republican ChairmanÂ not only was living proofÂ of every fatal flaw in the Japanese nuclear culture exposed by the NY Times,Â but he openly bragged about supporting Exelon and the Oyster Creek nuclear plantÂ for purely economic and blatently partisan political reasons.
Not to be outdone, the Mayor of neighboring Waretown said he would support Exelon, if he could just “get a piece of the action”.
Residents spoke of how great a neighbor Exelon was, oneÂ asked for another nuclear plant to be built at the site, and oneÂ said that the Oyster Creek plant actually improves the health of Barnegat bay and fisheries.
You see, Atlantic Coast migrating fish have learned to “take a left turn at Barnegat Bay” (no shit, this is a direct quote).
Exelon has discoveredÂ just how easy it is to buy local support when you spread a little money around town.
I testified that ChristieÂ DEP’s decision to reverse the prior December 2009 draft permit decision that cooling towers are the “Best Technology Available” (BTA) to protect the Barnegat Bay wasÂ transparently a political decision, that isÂ arbitrary,Â capricious, and an abuse of discretion.
The DEP BTA decision also conflicts with and violates the Clean Water Act’s Section 316(b) mandate to protect the Bay and apply “Best Professional Judgement” (BPJ) based on factors of science,Â law, and engineering and environmental economics, not partisan or local politics.
The Clean Water Act requiresÂ DEPÂ to protect the Bay, not the profits of Exelon or the host community economic benefits of Lacey Township.
I noted that the only material fact that had changed upon which DEP based this BTA reversal was the alleged plantÂ closure date ofÂ 2019, instead of 2029 under the NRC license.
DEP used this 10 year payback period to conclude that the capital costs of installing cooling towers was economically infeasible and thus not BTA.Â
But I noted that this fact that formed the sole basis of their new BTA determination was CREATED by the Governor’s political deal and Commissioner Martin’s ACO.Â
This Christie/Martin political negotiation process with Exelon made a sham of the Clean WaterÂ Act’s mandate to applyÂ science,Â law,Â engineering based objective economic factors, and cost/benefit analysis.
My testimony was made easy, because I followed directly after the Exelon VP, whose testimonyÂ confirmed these factsÂ for me.
I was attacked by residents for “picking on” a nuclear power plant.
WhenÂ the corruption and lies areÂ so bold and so transparent, its hard not to despair that we are doomed. [Note: there were some well meaning local residents who were either duped, ignorant,Â or in denial. One resident who opposed the plant asked to speak with me outside. TheyÂ agreed with my testimony, butÂ was intimidated and afraid to speak because they had kids in the school district.]