ENVIRONMENT ROUNDUP: Petition to governor to stop Nestle deal gathers thousands of signatures; regulators asked to shut nuclear plant until crack is fixed.
BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
A petition with tens of thousands of signatures protesting a proposed water-trade deal is being prepared to send to Gov. Kate Brown.
The petition aims to stop Nestle from opening a bottling plant in Cascade Locks.
From the Statesman Journal:
Supporters tout the jobs – about 50 – that the plant will bring. But opponents say the deal evades public input while giving the public’s water to a multinational corporation for free. That’s especially egregious as the state heads into its fourth year of drought, they say. Already, Gov. Kate Brown has declared drought emergencies in seven Oregon counties.
“Public water should remain publicly owned for the public good,” said Jeff Klatke, President of Oregon AFSCME.
Nestle has been trying to gain access to the spring for six years.
Up the river on the Washington side, environmentalists are asking regulators to halt operations at the Columbia Generating Station until a cracked pipe is fixed.
Energy Northwest, the utility consortium that operates the 1,100 megawatt plant, contends said the cracked pipe is a minor repair that doesn’t need to be done immediately. The consortium said activists are seizing on the issue to forward their agenda of seeing the plant shut for good. The pump is the latest in a growing list of issues that activists have raised about the plant, which they claim is uneconomical, outdated and isn’t designed to withstand the size earthquakes that are possible at the site.
The plant’s operators three weeks ago notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that because of the location of the crack, they are assuming it will grow more slowly than the growth rate specified in industry safety standards – a deviation that requires them to notify the commission. Plant operators said the 1.25 inch crack in a 19 foot pipe was first discovered in 2011 and has existed since at least 2001, though it doesn’t appear to have grown. Energy Northwest spokesman Mike Paoli said if the crack did grow, it could force reduced power generation but not pose a safety risk.
The petition from the anti-nuclear group reads: “The reactor should either be kept closed during this current shut down for refueling and…repaired, or, if the NRC has not acted until after the nuclear plant has been re-started, the reactor be closed for that purpose.”