We write in support of House bill 4444, An Act relative to preventing the discharge of radioactive materials.
This legislation was filed in response to plans by Holtec International, present owner of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, to discharge radioactive materials into Cape Cod Bay as part of its decommissioning process. In recent public statements, Holtec has confirmed that it is still considering discharging irradiated water into the Bay in 2023.
Our bill would update the Massachusetts Oil and Hazardous Material Release Prevention and Response Act by explicitly codifying that a discharge of radioactive material is included in the definition of a release. The bill also updates Chapter 270, Crimes against Public Health, to include a state action and a private right of action for individuals and business owners for property damages caused by the release of radioactive material into any coastal or inland waters.
The potential public health and economic impact of such a discharge is immeasurable. Not only is the public health threat to residents along the shore and those who use the bay for recreation significant, but the potential economic harm is paramount. Our offices have heard the outcry from fisherman and aquaculture businesses along the coastline who rely on Massachusetts’ clean water to make a living. That is why the Massachusetts Seafood Collaborative stands in firm opposition to any discharge into the bay. Even the perception of potentially radioactive seafood and shellfish can cause a significant economic harm to these industries.
As Holtec began decommissioning, they entered into a settlement agreement with the Massachusetts Attorney General following litigation. While this settlement agreement affords the Commonwealth and its residents additional safeguards and monitoring capabilities, the potential of radioactive water discharge into the bay persists. This legislation is one potential option to halt the potential discharge into the bay. We are appreciative of the Committee’s fast action in scheduling this legislation for a hearing and would be happy to work with your office on this legislation.
Thank you for your time and we respectfully request a favorable report. Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact our offices.
Rep. Josh S. Cutler Sixth Plymouth District Sen. Patrick M. O’Connor Plymouth & Norfolk District Rep. Sarah K. Peake Fourth Barnstable District Sen. Susan L. Moran,
Plymouth & Barnstable District Rep. Kathy R. LaNatra 12th Plymouth District