The event was the brainstorm of local activist Alice Andrews, who felt compelled, particularly after the recent Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown in Japan.
“Fifty miles is significant as the U.S. NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) recently recommended a 50-mile radius evacuation of Fukushima,” said Andrews, who felt that action needed to be taken in New York, and that Mother’s Day was the perfect, symbolic day to do so, as it celebrates life.
Participants either brought or were handed daisies to form a human daisy chain to “symbolize nature, life, simplicity and beauty,” Andrews said.
The protest included mothers, children, grandmothers, activists, concerned residents, representatives of Riverkeeper and local officials -- all asking that President Barack Obama deny the license renewals for Indian Point.
“I’m here because I’m a mom concerned about the dangers of nuclear power plants, particularly Indian Point -- which is so close to us and even closer to New York City,” said Elissa Pierse, of Accord, who had her ten-week-old baby boy nestled against her, as well as two other children and her mother Donna Crawford.
“This is my Mother’s Day present,” said Crawford, pointing to her T-shirt that read: “Mothers and Others United to Shut Down Indian Point.”
“It’s also my greatest gift to be here with my daughter and grandchildren and all of these wonderful people who want to stop this disaster before it happens.”
New Paltz resident and town Planning Board member Jonathan Wright was also there to show his solidarity and great desire to have Indian Point closed immediately.
“I came because friends of mine planned this very thoughtful, respectful event that I hope will bring positive energy towards shutting down Indian Point,” Wright said. “It’s too dangerous and we can get energy -- safe, clean energy elsewhere. We need solar everywhere, wind power, geo-thermal, clean sustainable power and not continue to allow our tax dollars to subsidize this dangerous, unnecessary form of energy. It sits on top of a fault line. They still, 40 years later, do not have a safe way to contain the radioactive fuel that leaks from the plant into the Hudson River.”
Ulster County Legislator (D-New Paltz) Hector Rodriguez was also there, daisy in hand, to lend his support.
“I’m here because we’re all concerned in the Hudson Valley about Indian Point and the absolute need to shut it down. Mother’s Day is symbolically perfect for this message because it celebrates life and the women who gave us life and we’re all here to talk about the critical need to get rid of this threat,” Rodriguez said. The county legislator has been on record for years about their desire to shut the plant down.
Andrews, who was busy handing out daisies -- spreading the human chain along the flats that stretched from the Wallkill River towards the Wallkill View Farm Market -- did say that she felt the need to “start getting people motivated and intent on shutting down this incredible danger, particularly after what happened in Japan.”
“I began to discuss it on Facebook and it all came together on Mother’s Day, with the daisy symbol, and a real desire by so many New Yorkers to act, protest, and get this plant shut down, as it should have been decades ago,” she said.
Mayor-elect of New Paltz Jason West joined friends and constituents to support the call to shut the nuclear plant down.
“I’m here because Indian Point could kill us all,” he said. “There is no evacuation plan for New York City, and if we have a meltdown, if that reactor goes, what are we going to do? No plan, no safety precautions. It’s an old, damaged plant that should have never been built to begin with.
“If our federal government subsidized solar energy and other clean energy to the amount they do nuclear energy, we would have absolutely no need for it and would not be placed in this dark death trap that is a constant threat to people’s lives, drinking water, air, everything. Stop using our tax dollars to subsidize nuclear energy and instead, use even a portion of those millions to subsidize solar energy. It has passed it’s time, it’s an archaic form of energy that we don’t need and we certainly should not be at the mercy of something going wrong, and it has already been going wrong for a long time.”
Riverkeeper, New York’s clean water advocacy group, is one of the many organizations demanding that plant be shut down. They have their “Top Ten Reasons to Close Indian Point.”
“Indian Point is old, dangerous and near more people than any other nuclear plant in the country,” stated the clean water organization. “The NRC has given Indian Point more safety waivers than it can remember and its own data shows IP poses the greatest risk of reactor core damage due to earthquake in the country and there is no plan for evacuating the millions of people in the danger zone.”
To learn more go to www.riverkeeper.org.
To learn more about Mothers and Others United to Shut Down Indian Point, log onto facebook.com/MothersAndOthersUnitedtoShutDownIndianPoint.