PLAINS, April 30 The battle lines were clearly drawn tonight over
the Indian Point nuclear power plant as its critics and defenders
sparred over its fate before county legislators.
In front at the meeting at the Westchester County Center, the
critics wore red shirts and jackets and waved red paper, all to call
attention to the plant's safety lapses. In the back, plant workers
and others pinned on Indian Point buttons and displayed signs and
small American flags.
Neither side seemed willing to listen to the other, and after
about 45 minutes of impassioned speeches punctuated occasionally
by jeers nearly all of the plant workers walked out in anger and
"We don't think it's a fair hearing," said Zvi Eisenberg, 52, a
systems engineer at the plant.
More than 350 people attended the meeting, held by Westchester
legislators to address safety concerns about the plant's two working
reactors in Buchanan, about 40 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. In
recent months, a growing number of state and local politicians,
environmental groups and residents have demanded the decommissioning
of Indian Point.
Tonight's meeting was called after such a large crowd jammed into
a March 21 meeting that about 150 people who signed up to speak were
not given a chance. Only those people were allowed to take the floor
tonight, drawing complaints from Indian Point workers and others who
also wanted to be heard.
Westchester legislators are considering two resolutions about
Indian Point, including one that calls for decommissioning it and,
if possible, converting it to natural gas or alternative-fuel
operation. The other resolution urges an evaluation of Indian
Point's emergency plan by an independent group outside the
government. The resolutions could be voted on as early as next
Legislator Michael B. Kaplowitz, who proposed the resolution to
decommission Indian Point, said that after hearing the public
comments, he was "as fervent as ever."
But even if county legislators adopt a resolution calling for the
closing of Indian Point, it would be largely symbolic. Though it
would be a first for Westchester, the Rockland County Legislature
and many towns, villages and school boards in both counties have
passed similar resolutions, with little effect.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the federal agency that
oversees Indian Point, has approved its operations.
The Entergy Corporation,
which owns Indian Point, has maintained that its operations are
safe, and plant workers and others have increasingly mobilized to
counter growing opposition to the plant.