Galef & Buchwald Slam Nuclear Regulatory Commission for Passing the Buck, Performing Lax Oversight

Call for Independent Risk Assessment of Pipeline

BUCHANAN – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has released a report calling the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline safe following a report by the NRC Office of the Inspector General (OIG) that found the initial analyses used “backwards engineering to get a desired result.” This new analysis remains insufficient. The NRC must use an independent risk assessment, as we have called for on numerous occasions. Any report from within the NRC does not instill public confidence given their past performance. Simply having different NRC staff does not change the culture of expediency that exists within the agency. This is exemplified by the four distinct improvements in NRC operations that the April 8th report lays out.

The report also questions the assumptions Entergy used in their initial assessment, stating that “Entergy should be asked to revisit the assumptions it made regarding the consequences of a postulated rupture of the 42-inch pipeline.” If the NRC will take such analyses at face value one questions what “oversight” is being performed. These analyses are not to simply go through the motions with regulators taking cues from the industry, but a robust oversight to ensure the public safety. The NRC passed the buck and is not credible on the ensuring the safety of the AIM pipeline.

On March 11th Assemblymembers Sandy Galef and David Buchwald along with 13 of their Assembly colleagues called for a temporary halt to natural gas transmission along the AIM pipeline until an independent risk assessment is conducted. They continue to do so, given the newest report and the NRC’s continued resistance to seek an independent assessment, by outside of the NRC.

“This egregious endangerment of human life must be addressed and explained immediately. Just because the NRC does not care about accountability does not mean they are free from it. An independent risk assessment will provide a modicum of reassurance. It is truly the least we can ask for,” said Assemblywoman Sandy Galef.

“If we have learned anything lately, it is that when government institutions ignore facts and science, the safety of the people is put at grave risk. Clearly and independent safety and risk assessment of this pipeline is urgently needed,” said Assemblyman David Buchwald (D-White Plains). “The Nuclear Regulatory Commission should not risk the safety of Westchester residents by allowing natural gas to flow through a pipeline that, according to its own Inspector General, has not had the proper risk assessment.”

In addition to Assemblymembers Galef and Buchwald the letter was signed by Assemblymembers Abinanti, Zebrowski, Jaffee, Sayegh, Paulin, Jacobson, Dinowitz, Mosley, Otis, Montesano, Gottfried, Lentol, and Simon.

The letter is attached here.