Hudson River Environmental Impact Statement Review

Review of the Environmental Impact Statement for Three Hudson River Electrical Generating Stations

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

During the 1970s, a proposal to permit electrical generating stations on the Hudson River to withdraw water for once-through cooling led to a prolonged litigation aimed at resolving the controversy about effects on Hudson River fisheries. The Hudson River Settlement Agreement permitted operation of the stations but required significant monitoring to provide the basis from which to resolve the scientific uncertainty about potential station effects. In 1990, following a decade of intensive monitoring, the utilities applied for modification of the terms of station operation and were required to file an environmental impact statement (EIS) in support of their proposal. In 1993, ESSA was retained by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to undertake a technical review of the fisheries models and technical analyses presented in support of the EIS for three electric generating plants (Bowline, Indian Point 2&3, and Roseton) on the Hudson River.

ESSA’s review focused on examination of:

  1. the assessment of entrainment and impingement mortality of major fish stocks in the Hudson River for the next permit period;
  2. the effects of predicted entrainment and impingement mortality on the major fish species populations and their associated economic impacts; and
  3. the thermal plume and ecosystemic effects of plant operations.

The review found a number of problems with the analysis which raised concern about the conclusions reached, and also revealed that the American shad population was in serious decline.