In a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Nov. 11th, Earthrise Law Center asked the NRC fix an error in Pilgrim’s NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) license. Last year, the NRC assured NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (one of the agencies charged with implementing the Endangered Species Act (ESA)) that Pilgrim was required, under its NRC license, to report occurrences, sightings, or interactions of endangered and threatened marine species near the plant. However, this requirement is missing from the licence. Despite NMFS’ request that the NRC fix the mistake, the NRC has still not fixed the problem.
The ESA is important to Cape Cod Bay because the Bay is home to a number of endangered and threatened species, including whales, sea turtles, and fish. Of particular concern is the north Atlantic right whale, one of the rarest large whales in the world with only about 500 individuals remaining. Most of Cape Cod Bay is critical habitat for the rare whales. A rare sighting of a mom-calf right whale pair occurred last January within Pilgrim’s 500 yard exclusion zone. Considering that the occurrences of right whales in the Bay will be increasing as the winter season approaches, it is critical that this error in Pilgrim’s license be fixed immediately.