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DEC Statement on ALJ Ruling Regarding Indian Point Proceeding

February 9, 2015

ALJ Rules Forced Outages Must be Further Evaluated as an Alternative to Limit Impacts to Aquatic Life from Indian Point Operations

A state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Administrative Law Judge today issued a preliminary ruling to allow further evaluation of permanent forced outages as one alternative to reduce the impacts to aquatic life at the Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, Westchester County. The ALJ issued this ruling as part of the ongoing administrative hearing on the Indian Point facility.

No final decision has been made on any of the alternatives proposed in this proceeding. DEC staff and the other parties to the proceeding have proposed several technologies to be evaluated. The hearing process will fully examine whether outages could be implemented cost effectively and without impacts on reliability. Other alternatives to be evaluated include: requiring the company to install wedgewire screens at intake pipes; requiring the company to install closed-cycle cooling towers; and a “no action” alternative.

Additional Information Provided on Background: Highlights of DEC staff’s Brief on Forced Outages

Under the federal Clean Water Act, DEC must seek to reduce the impact to aquatic life as part of the ongoing operation of the Indian Point facility. As part of the process, DEC must consider reasonable alternatives to achieve the goals of the Clean Water Act. Alternatives weighed in this process would be used to formulate DEC’s determination on the best technology available to reduce impacts.

DEC staff previously provided a fact sheet regarding the permanent forced outages alternative. The fact sheet outlined six potential outage scenarios. One outage scenario would require shutting down for an average of 42 days during prime fish migrations, between May 10 and August 10. None of the alternatives would be implemented in 2015.

Con Edison implemented outages when it owned the facilities and this practice is consistent with what has been done at other facilities on the Hudson River.

Additional Information Provided on Background: Hearing Process

The ruling is subject to appeal to the DEC Assistant Commissioner for Hearings and Mediation Services. Any appeal must be submitted by Friday, March 6, 2015. Responses to any appeal are due by Friday, April 10, 2015. The ruling may be affirmed, modified or reversed on appeal. Accompanying the ALJ issues ruling is an order that establishes a schedule relating to further steps in the process.

Scheduling Order – Outages/Interim Measures/Flow Reductions

February 3, 2015

Date Action
Friday, February 20, 2015 Department Staff and Riverkeeper to advise administrative law judges and parties as to which outage scenarios will be advanced at the adjudicatory hearing. If neither party intends to limit its respective presentation, Department Staff and Riverkeeper will advise the administrative law judges and the parties accordingly.
Friday, March 6, 2015 Service of appeals of outages issues ruling.
Friday, March 27, 2015 Service of discovery requests related to issues of outages, interim measures, and flow reductions.
Friday, April 10, 2015 Service of responses to appeals of outages issues ruling.
Friday, May 1, 2015 Service of discovery responses, objections, and production or responsive, non-privileged documents not subject to objection concerning issues of outages, interim measures, and flow reductions.
Friday, May 15, 2015 Discovery motions to be served.
Friday, May 29, 2015 Deadline for service of opposition to discovery motions.
Friday, June 26, 2015 Deadline for submission of pre-filed direct expert testimony related to issues of outages, interim measures, and flow reductions.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015 Pre-hearing motion conference.
Friday, August 7, 2015 Deadline for submission of pre-filed rebuttal expert testimony related to issues of outages, interim measures, and flow reductions.
Monday, September 14 to Friday, October 2, 2015 Adjudicatory hearing on issues of outages, interim measures, and flow reductions.
Friday, November 20, 2015 Initial briefs on closed cycle cooling, outages, interim measures, and flow reductions portion of hearing.
Friday, December 18, 2015 Reply briefs on closed cycle cooling, outages, interim measures, and flow reductions portion of hearing.

 

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