I joined my colleague Diane Curran of Harmon, Curran, Spielberg & Eisenberg, L.L.P., her two co-counsels and 40 Georgia citizens who live near the Vogtle nuclear reactor site, along with more than a dozen law students from the Turner Law Clinic in Atlanta and other advocates from our DC-based coalition, as Diane argued before the US Court of Appeals on behalf of nine national and regional organizations - that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission violated federal law when it issued a license for new reactors at the Vogtle site without fully taking into account the potential for a Fukushima-like disaster.
The Georgia citizens had spent all night on a chartered bus to attend today’s hearing and to debrief with Diane following the hearing. They then headed to the White House to meet with Administration officials about the dangers of the plant to their communities, their health, their families, and their economic well-being. The court room was filled with our group. Standing room only, in fact.
At the end of the hearing we moved to a nearby church to de-brief with Diane and her team. At the end of the debrief we all stood as one, held hands and with several prayers, re-committed ourselves to the fight. These were a sample of local community activists we all work for in this effort. They are the ones impacted and who will be impacted should anything ever happen at Vogtle. They were young and old, passionate and articulate about their issues. They asked for our continued help in drafting talking points to use with their legislators and Georgia public service commissioners and for other support in their communities in Georgia in the coming months. One member of the group is even planning to run for the PSC in a few years time. In short, these were real people taking the time, most without sleep or extra resources, to come to DC to stand for their cause. They were impressive.
As we head into Thanksgiving, I was reminded today to give thanks to all the citizens and non-profits working to stop threats to their communities, often against very heavy odds. I was also reminded of how important it is that we are all in this together.
Have a good holiday everyone.
Consulting Director for Safe Energy