Daniel Case (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Hudson River Saved! The Bold Bill Defending It from Radioactive Risk

Governor Kathy Hochul has taken a monumental step by signing the “Save the Hudson” bill (S.6893/A.7208) into law, aiming to protect the Hudson River from radioactive discharges during the decommissioning of nuclear power plants. The Hudson River, a landmark natural treasure of New York, is now safeguarded for future generations. “The Hudson River is one of New York’s landmark natural treasures, and it’s critical we stand together to protect it for generations to come,” emphasized Governor Hochul. This legislation is a testament to the administration’s commitment to the economic vitality of the Hudson River Region. The law focuses on the well-being of communities in New York’s Hudson Valley region, ensuring their safety and prosperity.

Collaborative efforts will be made with federal regulators, Holtec, local officials, and the State’s Decommissioning Oversight Board to find alternative wastewater disposal methods. State Senator Pete Harckham hailed the bill as “one of the great environmental victories in state history.” He further added, “This historic, landmark law prevents the release of radioactive wastewater into the river and protects the robust economic vitality of the region.” Assemblymember Dana Levenberg expressed gratitude to the numerous advocates who worked tirelessly alongside legislators to ensure the bill’s passage. “So many people in the Hudson Valley showed up to this fight determined to protect the river that defines our region,” Levenberg noted.

Representative Jamaal Bowman stressed that “dumping 1 million gallons of radioactive water into a river with a basin home to more than 8 million people is never an option.” Bowman further emphasized the importance of democracy over convenience in environmental decisions. Representative Pat Ryan pointed out the long history of corporations dumping toxic waste into the Hudson River and celebrated the end of such practices with this legislation. “For too long, big corporations have dumped their toxic waste into the Hudson River with blatant disregard for our communities’ safety,” Ryan remarked. Representative Mike Lawler highlighted the widespread concerns from constituents and environmental organizations about the radioactive wastewater discharge plans. He expressed optimism about working together to find “a workable solution for all involved.” Representative Marc Molinaro appreciated the Governor’s partnership, emphasizing the importance of preserving the Hudson River.

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County Executive George Latimer described the legislation as a “monumental stride forward” in safeguarding the Hudson River. Cortlandt Town Supervisor, Richard H. Becker, M.D., emphasized the community’s strong belief that “any radioactive exposure is too much.” Diana Delaney of 1199SEIU highlighted the importance of clean water for the community and environment. Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan praised the bill for sending a clear message that the Hudson River is not a dumping ground for industrial waste. Vanessa Fajans-Turner of Environmental Advocates NY lauded Governor Hochul for championing the health and legacy of the Hudson River. Riverkeeper President Tracy Brown thanked Governor Hochul for her leadership, emphasizing the importance of preventing the Hudson River from becoming a dumping ground for radioactive waste.

Alex Beauchamp from Food & Water Watch stated, “Governor Hochul is sending a strong signal to corporate polluters — industrial waste has no place in our water.” He celebrated the power of communities over corporations, thanking Governor Hochul for her decisive action. Chief Dwaine Perry of the Ramapo Munsee Nation expressed gratitude in the Munsee language, emphasizing the importance of a healthy river for all life forms. The Hudson River, known as Mahicannituk in the Munsee language, meaning “the river that flows both ways,” is home to endangered species like the Atlantic Sturgeon.

The legislation is a response to Holtec International’s plans to dump over 1 million gallons of radioactive wastewater into the Hudson. Holtec’s controversial plan had sparked significant public opposition and concern. The “Save the Hudson” bill ensures that the river, which is a source of drinking water for many, remains uncontaminated. The legislation’s signing marks a significant stride in environmental protection, reflecting the collective voice of New Yorkers. The bill’s passage is a testament to the power of community activism and collaborative efforts in environmental conservation. The Hudson River, with its rich history and significance, remains a symbol of New York’s commitment to environmental sustainability. The “Save the Hudson” legislation serves as a beacon for other states and regions to prioritize environmental health and community well-being. As the world grapples with environmental challenges, New York sets a precedent with its proactive approach to safeguarding its natural resources. The future of the Hudson River looks brighter, thanks to the collective efforts of officials, advocates, and the community at large


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