Some parts of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station occupy public tidelands on Cape Cod Bay. Under our state’s waterways law, Pilgrim needs Chapter 91 licenses from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to occupy these public lands. For instance, in the past MassDEP has granted Chapter 91 licenses for Pilgrim’s discharge channel, jetties and intake canal – all occupying public tidelands in the Bay.
Under our state’s waterways law, Entergy’s use of these public tidelands is only supposed to be allowed by MassDEP if it serves a proper public purpose. The public purpose of the projects mentioned above is unclear, since they result in further pollution and destruction of Cape Cod Bay and its resources.
In February 2015, MassDEP approved a new Chapter 91 waterways license for Entergy that also serves no proper public purpose and will interfere with the public’s rights to use the Bay’s resources. This Chapter 91 license is currently the subject of an administrative appeal.
This new license would allow Pilgrim to use tidelands to install moorings and an outhaul system in the intake embayment area as an emergency cooling water system. This system in supposed to help cool Pilgrim’s nuclear reactor and spent fuel pool in an emergency situation, and prevent a nuclear meltdown or spent fuel fire in the event of an unplanned power outage. However, there are questions to whether the project – if ever needed – would discharge contaminated water into Cape Cod Bay.
In March 2015, thirteen residents filed an administrative appeal of MassDEP’s decision to grant the license. On June 29, 2015, the petitioners’ memorandum and testimony was filed for the case. This is the first step in the process of the appeal – filing arguments and facts in the form of testimony and the memorandum.
Entergy has one month to reply, and MassDEP will reply after that sometime in early August. The petitioners will then have a chance to rebut in September. A hearing is set for September 24th, and members of the public are welcome to attend. Please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to attend and we can send more information.