On Aug. 7th, Terry Lodge, Toledo-based attorney for the environmental coalition intervening against DTE's proposed new Fermi 3 reactor in southeast MI, has filed a final reply brief requested by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
The coalition includes Beyond Nuclear, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Citizen Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Sierra Club, Michigan Chapter.
Lodge's reply rebuts July 28th filings made by DTE, NRC staff, and the Nuclear Energy Institute. All three sought to block the NRC's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) from undertaking its own review of NRC staff's alleged failure to perform an environmental assessment on the impacts from building nearly 30 miles of new transmission lines to serve Fermi 3. This includes an 11 mile stretch through undeveloped areas, including forested wetlands. These could serve as critical habitat for endangered or threatened species.
In addition, ancient Native American burials, deserving of protection under law, very likely are located along the targeted transmission corridor pathway, as well.
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires such a review, interverers have argued since Jan. 2012. And it appears the ASLB, as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, agree with them.
Now the NRC Commissioners will take the matter behind closed doors, to decide whether or not they will grant the ASLB permission to review NRC staff's alleged NEPA failures, as the licensing board overseeing the Fermi 3 combined Construction and Operating License Application has requested.