Environmental coalitions continue to strive to defend Lake Erie against atomic reactor risks, both old and new.
At the age-degraded Davis-Besse atomic reactor near Toledo on the Lake Erie shore, a coalition has defended its new contention challening Shield Building wall gaps, cracks, and rebar damage. The coalition includes Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste MI, and the OH Green Party.
Another coalition, resisting the proposed new reactor at the Fermi nuclear power plant in Monroe County, MI, has just suffered a major setback, but vows to fight on.
Late in the afternoon on the Friday before the Memorial Day holiday long weekend (May 23, 2014), a Nuclear Regulatory Commission Atomic Safety (sic) and Licensing Board (ASLB) hearing the Fermi Unit 3 intervention announced its ruling against the coalition's quality assurance (QA) contention, as well as its endangered species contention. (However, the coalition's Nuclear Waste Confidence contention is still in play, as its challenge against proposed new transmission lines.)
Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer at Fairewinds Associates, serves as the coalition's expert witness on QA. Gundersen warned last Halloween that the ASLB's adverse ruling would undermine whistleblower protections, and in fact all safety regulations, not just at Fermi 3, but would set a bad precedent that could lead to abuses at all proposed new reactors.
Regarding the endangered species contention, the ASLB declared its own ruling a "NEPA [National Environmental Policy Act] success story." Intervenors beg to differ. Detroit Edison's mitigation plan is woefully inadequate. The ASLB points out that the threatened Eastern Fox Snake, the subject of the contention, has four habitat ranges in Michigan and Ontario on the shoreline of Lake Erie -- implying that the loss of one of them, at Fermi 3, is no big deal. Combined with other ecological pressures, including climate chaos, the ASLB's flippant ruling could well spell the extinction of this species. But the Eastern Fox Snake is only one of many threatend and endangered plant and animal species put at further risk by the Fermi 3 proposal.
The coalition officially intervening against Fermi 3 includes Beyond Nuclear, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste MI, and the Sierra Club, Michigan Chapter.
Terry Lodge, Toledo based attorney, serves as legal counsel for the environmental coalitions in both the Davis-Besse and Fermi 3 ASLB proceedings.
The intervening groups are joined by others, including Citizens Resistance at Fermi 2, and the Alliance to Halt Fermi 3. Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps will speak at an Alliance press conference and rally in Detroit on May 30th. See the Alliance's press advisory, as well as its flyer.