Action Alert: Please help nuclear safety bills get passed!
With the recent closure of the Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor, and the ongoing disastrous radiation leaks at the Fukushima reactor, there is heightened awareness of the problems at our Pilgrim nuclear reactor. There are a handful of state representatives who have filed bills at the state house to increase public protections such as widening emergency evacuation zones around Pilgrim. In July, representatives Jim Cantwell and Sarah Peake and many residents, including myself, went to the state house to testify about the importance of these nuclear safety bills. These bills are STILL stalled and will remain stuck in the Joint Committee on Public Health unless we encourage other legislators to help move them out of committee to a vote. I am writing you now to ask that you send the House and Senate Chairs of this joint committee an email asking that they focus on making these bills a reality. I have included a sample email below for you to use, or to edit/amend and make your own. I have also included the Chairs’ email addresses to make it easy for you. Information on all 4 pending bills is at bottom.
If you can, please let me know if you have contacted them so that I can keep track of how many emails the legislators are receiving.
Send to: John.Keenan@masenate.gov AND Jeffrey.firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Senate Chair Keenan and House Chair Sanchez,
I am writing to encourage the movement of nuclear safety bills H.2045, H.2046, H.1906 and H.1907 out of the Joint Committee on Public Health and to a vote. These bills have direct bearing on our lives, particularly considering the damage that Fukushima has caused its neighbors and the broader world. The bills will provide the Massachusetts Department of Public Health with sufficient monies from assessments of nuclear power plants. This funding will adequately provide oversight jobs at the Department of Public Health which it needs to protect citizens impacted by Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. The bills also provide additional funds for real-time monitoring stations, expanding potassium-iodide distribution to residents in harms way, and will expand the Emergency Planning Zone to protect more of us. These bills are no-brainers, and we need your help to turn them into a reality.
Information on the bills:
Rep. Cutler, Calter and Cantwell’s bill (H.1907) amends state law to increase Mass Dept. of Public Health’s (MDPH) assessment from a maximum $180,000 per annum, per nuclear power plant to not less than $400,000 per reactor. The current assessment does not give MDPH enough money to perform its obligations of environmental surveillance and monitoring of emissions into our communities from Pilgrim, Vermont Yankee, and Seabrook. This assessment is not a tax on us. Rather, it recognizes that it is industry’s responsibility to pay the monitoring and emergency costs that the Commonwealth incurs as a result of their commercial operations. Louisiana-based Entergy (owner of Pilgrim and Vermont Yankee) and Florida-based NextEra (Seabrook) chose to buy reactors here. They can afford to satisfy their obligations. According to Business Week, Entergy had annual revenues of $10.3 billion in 2010 and projected revenues of $11.5 billion in 2014. According Forbes, the total compensation of Entergy’s CEO Wayne Leonard in 2012 was $15.11 million and he will receive $108.57 million over 5 years.
The two other identical bills (H.1906 and H2045) put forward by Rep. Jim Cantwell from Marshfield and supported by testimony from Rep. Josh Cutler would expand the radiological emergency planning zone from 10 to 20 miles, including all of the Cape and Islands. The US Government advised Americans living within 50 miles of Fukushima to evacuate yet our EPZ is only 10 miles. It makes no sense. Folks living 10-20 miles away need plans that make sense, so that they will know when to shelter with potassium iodide first, so that those closer to the plants can evacuate if needed, and when themselves to get out. The bills would provide potassium iodide to those communities, and real-time radiological air monitors so that the state will know where a plume actually is in order to base protective action calls in a disaster, and also to do research on radiation health impacts.
The last bill H.2046 authorizes MDPH to assess each nuclear reactor impacting Massachusetts (Pilgrim, Vermont Yankee and Seabrook) not less than $400,000 to cover costs to purchase, install, and maintain real-time radiological air monitoring stations that will be located in Massachusetts communities impacted by these reactors, including the Cape. This addresses a need, separate from that addressed by the bill advanced by Representatives Calter, Cutler and Cantwell, to provide real-time radiological air monitors in the communities around these three plants. Town Meeting recognized that what is presently in place is inadequate, and voted to have Duxbury buy a monitor that DPH would install, maintain and monitor. This bill would make possible the additional monitors, both close to the reactors and farther afield, that all of the affected towns need for emergency planning and health research. Absent this bill, MDPH simply does not have the money to do this.
Let’s support our representatives and community, and all contact the Joint Committee of Public Health to voice your support.