NY Gov. Signs Bill to Stop Radioactive Waste Dumping In Hudson River

“Save the Hudson” bill expected to stop Holtec International’s planned dump of over one million gallons of toxic waste this summer

Published Aug 18, 2023


Clean Water

“Save the Hudson” bill expected to stop Holtec International’s planned dump of over one million gallons of toxic waste this summer

“Save the Hudson” bill expected to stop Holtec International’s planned dump of over one million gallons of toxic waste this summer

Today, Governor Hochul signed the “Save the Hudson” bill (A7208/S6893), which prohibits dumping radioactive waste from decommissioning nuclear plants into the Hudson River. The legislation passed both the Assembly and Senate (unanimously) in June.

The legislation is expected to stop Holtec International’s planned dump of more than one million gallons of toxic radioactive wastewater from the Indian Point site into the Hudson River. That waste contains toxic contaminants, including radioactive tritium, exposure to which is linked to cancer, miscarriages, genetic defects and other adverse health effects. The dump was planned for as early as September, after public opposition successfully delayed a May release date.

Since Holtec International informed the public of their planned dump this February, 35 Hudson River localities, 138 groups and nearly 500,000 people have mobilized to call on Governor Hochul to stop the dump.

Food & Water Watch Northeast Regional Director Alex Beauchamp issued the following statement:

“Governor Hochul is sending a strong signal to corporate polluters — industrial waste has no place in our water. The Save the Hudson bill will ensure that the Hudson River is no longer treated as a toxic dumping ground, prioritizing public health and the environment over corporate expediency. Holtec’s plan to dump radioactive water in the Hudson River was dangerous from the start, and New Yorkers from all over the state quickly organized robust opposition. Today, we celebrate the power of our communities over corporations, and thank Governor Hochul for keeping our river safe.” 

“The overwhelming opposition from the public against Holtec’s profit-driven discharges has resonated across New York as communities have spoken loud and clear that it is unacceptable to use the Hudson River as a dumping ground for radioactive waste. Riverkeeper thanks Governor Hochul for her leadership and for taking action on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who called on her to sign bipartisan legislation stopping the radioactive wastewater discharges from Indian Point,” said Riverkeeper President Tracy Brown. “We also thank Assemblymember Dana Levenberg and Senate Environmental Conservation Chairman Pete Harckham for their tireless efforts to secure this victory; our coalition partners who have been influential in the development and passage of the bill; and the concerned community members who made their voices heard.”

“Thank you to my fellow advocates who have worked tirelessly to stop Holtec from dumping radioactive wastewater in the Hudson River and to our elected officials who were determined to pass the Save the Hudson bill into law. By signing this bill, Governor Hochul acknowledged that protecting the health, safety and economic vitality of the Hudson Valley is her most important responsibility,” said Susan Van Dolsen, Westchester for Change co-organizer. “The Stop Holtec coalition and residents across the region will continue to work with state agencies and other parties to ensure that a waste management process is undertaken that will protect us.”

“Gov Hochul has stepped up to show leadership as an environmental steward of our impacted community and our Hudson River. The Governor has also shown that New York State will maintain an important role in decommissioning with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and a private company who is subsidized with $2.4 B of New York State ratepayer funds to decommission the plant. The Governor has proven the health, safety, and economic interests of New Yorkers come first, no matter what,” said Tina Volz-Bongar, Stop Holtec Coalition, United For Clean Energy co-organizer.

“Anushiik is the Munsee language word for gratitude. Thank you in the original language of the Tri-state region. Ramapo Munsee Nation actually thanked the Governor in advance at the Decommissioning Oversight Board hearing on July 31st for signing the most important law of our times: protecting the Hudson River and all the life including human life that depends on a healthy river from the dangers of the dumping of radioactive waste,” said Chief Dwaine Perry of the Ramapo Munsee Nation. “Ramapo means sweet water in English. The Hudson river is home to Waapalaneewak (the almost extinct Eagles), Kapaaxeewak (the endangered Atlantic Sturgeon) and many others, our Munsee name for the Hudson River is Mahicannituk which means the river that flows both ways. Ramapo are looking forward to joining the dialogue with officials in New York, New Jersey, and the Federal Government to make sure our lands, rivers and air are safe and healthy for everyone.”

“Thank you Governor Hochul. This is a victory for the Hudson River and all its advocates! We are all better off because of this bill becoming law. Now on to see what Holtec’s response will be and how they will store the tritiated water,” said Marilyn Elie from the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition.

“I’m relieved that Governor Kathy Hochul signed the Save the Hudson Bill (S6893/A7208) bill into law, effectively stopping Holtec from dumping 1 million gallons of toxic waste into the Hudson River,” said Rockland County Executive Ed Day. “I applaud my fellow Hudson Valley County Executives, our local elected officials, and State and Federal lawmakers for all taking action to stop what would have been an atrocity to our environment.”

“I thank Gov. Hochul for validating the wishes of The People with her very clear directive. Today, The People won and Big Greed and Big Lobbyists lost,” said Harriet Cornell, Rockland County Legislature Second Vice Chair. “Our majestic Hudson River serves so many as a place of recreation, scenic beauty, food source and economic resource. It is fitting that we choose to continue the fight to further restore it instead of opting for the easy, lazy and cheap option of dumping radioactive waste into this revered watercourse.”

“Grassroots Environmental Education thanks Governor Hochul for preventing Holtec from turning our precious water supply into a radioactive dumping ground and for upholding her promise that every New Yorker deserves access to clean, safe and affordable drinking water. We are also grateful to Assembly Member Dana Levenberg and Senator Pete Harckham for their strong leadership in bringing the ”Save the Hudson” bill to fruition to protect the health of our communities and our vibrant Hudson Valley economy,” said Ellen Weininger, Director of Educational Outreach at Grassroots Environmental Education. “The people of New York deserve science driven solutions that include independent authoritative analyses and best practices for waste management, safe and secure onsite storage as well as for other decommissioning operations and policy decisions. We look forward to continuing to work together to make that happen.”

“New Yorkers across the state came together in defense of the Hudson River. We rallied, lobbied, wrote letters, signed petitions, and made phone calls to stop Holtec International from dumping radioactive wastewater into the river.  We thank State Senator Pete Harckham and Assemblywoman Dana Levenberg for sponsoring the Save the Hudson bill and the governor for signing it into law,” said Iris Hiskey Arno, NYCD16 Indivisible.

“Residents of Rockland County are very pleased that Governor Hochul has signed the Save the Hudson bill, ensuing that the Hudson River will not be a dumping ground for radioactive toxic waste,” said Rockland County resident Jacqui Drechsler. “We are grateful for the bi-partisan efforts of all of our elected officials and thank all of the advocates who insisted that the River be protected now and for future generations, with special thanks to Food and Water Watch for their intervention.”

“I, along with all residents of the Hudson Valley, can breathe a sigh of  relief that Governor Hochul finally signed the bill to stop Holtec from using our Hudson River as a radioactive sewer.  Indian Point reactor site has more radioactive waste than any other commercial reactor site in the nation,” said Susan Shapiro, Member of the Stop Holtec Coalition, Nanuet, NY. “We now call on the Governor and all  state and federal agencies to work with community members to ensure that the decommissioning, storage, and management of our nuclear waste is sequestered from the environment using best practices. Safe decommissioning is necessary to protect our water, air, endangered species and future generations.”   

“Water is life – Mni Wiconi. Governor Hochul’s signing of the Save the Hudson bill affirms New York’s commitment to protect, honor and respect the Water. Now we must find environmentally safe ways to deal with the tritiated wastewater. And we CAN! Together we CAN create a world that is vital and healthy for all beings. An amazing amount of human intelligence and effort gathered to create this new moment – I feel so grateful. Onward,” said Vitalah Simon member of Stop Holtec Coalition Armonk.

Press Contact: Phoebe Galt [email protected]