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Legal counsel for environmental coalition files Initial Reply Brief against NRC's false nuclear waste confidence

Protestors from the Crabshell Alliance, Sierra Club, NIRS, Nuclear Energy Information Service of IL, Public Citizen, Beyond Nuclear, and other groups just say "NO!" to NRC's Nuclear Waste Con Game during a Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel GEIS public comment meeting at NRC HQ in Rockville, MD in late 2013.On October 23, 2015, attorneys representing a coalition of environmental groups filed an Initial Reply Brief, in response to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) brief, in the New York II case being heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Geoffrey Fettus serves as legal counsel for NRDC, and Diane Curran and Mindy Goldstein serve as legal counsel for Beyond Nuclear, et al. (see the full list of environmental coalition groups involved in the legal appeal at the bottom of this entry).

In its New York I ruling of June 2012, the DC Circuit vacated NRC's Nuclear Waste Confidence Decision, and ordered an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to be performed by the agency.

In its Initial Reply Brief, the environmental coalition has argued that the "Court should vacate the Rule and GEIS," as due, for example, to NRC's "failure to comply with the Court’s explicit instruction" in New York I to analyze the risks of a repository for disposal of irradiated nuclear fuel never being opened.

NRC has renamed its Rule and Generic Environmental Impact Statement "Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel," instead of using its debunked, infamous previous name, "Nuclear Waste Confidence." Large numbers of public comments during NRC's meetings across the U.S. branded "Nuclear Waste Confidence" a confidence game (see photo, above). (A confidence game is defined as any swindle or trick in which the swindler, after gaining the confidence and trust of the victim, robs, defrauds, deceives, or otherwise cheats them.)

As the environmental coalition's legal counsel argued in their Initial Reply Brief, NRC's Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel Rule and GEIS would preclude environmental intervenors from raising irradiated nuclear fuel contentions in any future interventions against proposed new reactor combined construction and operations license applications (COLAs), as well as old reactor license extension proceedings. In fact, the coalition seeks to challenge radioactive waste generation in current licensing proceedings.

Beyond Nuclear, which is honored and privileged to be a part of the coalition's legal appeal, is challenging the 20-year license extensions at Davis-Besse, OH and Fermi Unit 2, MI on the Lake Erie shoreline, as well as the COLA at the proposed new Fermi Unit 3 in MI. Beyond Nuclear is represented in those three proceedings by attorney Terry Lodge of Toledo, OH. Other groups Beyond Nuclear formally entered into coalition with to legally challenge those licenses include: Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination; Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario; Don't Waste MI; Ohio Green Party; and Sierra Club Michigan Chapter. Additional groups Beyond Nuclear works with in those three particular fights also include: Alliance to Halt Fermi 3; Citizens Resistance at Fermi 2; and Sierra Club Ohio Chapter Nuclear-Free Committee.

The other environmental groups involved in the coalition's legal appeal before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals include: Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. (NRDC); Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL); Missouri Coalition for the Environment; New England Coalition; Nuclear Information & Resource Service (NIRS); Riverkeeper, Inc.; San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace; and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Inc. (SACE). Thus, besides Beyond Nuclear's three licensing proceedings, a large number of additional reactor licensing proceedings are comprehended by this appeals lawsuit.

Beyond Nuclear et al.'s legal counsel, Diane Curran, is from the law firm of Harmon, Curran, Spielberg & Eisenberg, LLP of Washington, D.C. Beyond Nuclear et al.'s legal counsel, Mindy Goldstein, is from the Turner Environmental Law Clinic in Atlanta, GA.

As the name of the appeal, New York II, implies, the environmental coalition is allied with a coalition of states, and an Indian tribe, in challenging NRC's Continued Storage Rule and GEIS. The states include New York, Connecticut, and Vermont; the Native American nation is the Praire Island Indian Community of Minnesota.

Oral arguments for New York II have not yet been scheduled, but are expected to take place in early 2016.

A favorable ruling for the coalition of environmental groups, state governments, and Prairie Island Indian Community would represent a serious blow to proposed new reactor licenses, and old reactor license extensions, such as the ones Beyond Nuclear has been fighting on the Lake Erie shoreline for many long years now.