Report Released Documenting Marine Destruction and Pollution of Cape Cod Bay by Entergy’s Pilgrim Nuclear

Media Contacts

Regulators should terminate Pilgrim’s Clean Water Act permit


Contacts: Meg Sheehan, Cape Cod Bay Watch, [email protected], cell 508-259-9154; Ed Dewitt, Executive Director, Association to Preserve Cape Cod, [email protected], 508-362-4226

A scathing new report entitled Entergy, Our Bay is Not Your Dump: A Call to EPA and MassDEP to Terminate Entergy’s Clean Water Act Permit for Pilgrim Nuclear and end the Destruction and Pollution of Cape Cod Bay was released by Cape Cod Bay Watch, in recognition of World Oceans Day. The report documents how Entergy Corporation, owner of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, destroys marine life and pollutes Cape Cod Bay by using an outdated “once-through” cooling water system to run Pilgrim.

Each day, Entergy takes up to 510 million gallons of seawater from Cape Cod Bay for its operations and draws in fish, plankton, and other marine life.  Tens of millions of fish and billions of planktonic organisms are killed with the system each year. The heated and polluted water is dumped back into the Bay under what the report calls the “guise” of a Clean Water Act permit that expired 19 years ago.

As outlined in the report, 24 groups are calling on regulators at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to terminate the permit, which would require Entergy to cease operations until it gets an updated permit.

According to Dr. Jo Ann Muramoto, Senior Scientist at the Association to Preserve Cape Cod, one of the groups endorsing the report, “Pilgrim’s seawater intake system has been impacting fisheries in western Cape Cod Bay for years.  The discharge of heated seawater back into the Bay is likely causing further stress to local marine ecosystems that are also dealing with ocean warming due to climate change.  Our fisheries are in trouble due to a number of causes.  Renewing Pilgrim’s discharge permit would signal that regulatory agencies don’t recognize these problems.  It’s time to rethink the discharge permit and eliminate these impacts.”  

The report draws on information from government agencies and Entergy itself showing the destruction of marine life and pollution of the Bay since 1972 when Pilgrim starting operating.  It describes how regulators have failed to enforce the laws requiring improvements in technology and how use of Pilgrim’s destructive cooling system for 42 years has had major impacts on the Bay’s ecosystem.

“Nothing at Pilgrim makes less sense than the fisheries Cuisinart the EPA allows Entergy to operate. Taxpayers spend a billion dollars a year on fisheries management and protection. We might as well shred the money in the Pilgrim cooling system along with all the fish being killed,” said Ed DeWitt, Executive Director at the Association to Preserve Cape Cod. 

Meg Sheehan, volunteer with Cape Cod Bay Watch added, “Cape Cod Bay is not Entergy’s private dump for its cooling water.  Pilgrim has been using seawater for cooling for free for 42 years, and the public pays the price in pollution and decimated fisheries and ecosystem health.  Destroying our Bay for Entergy’s short-term profits makes little economic or environmental sense.”

The call to terminate Entergy’ Clean Water Act “National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System” (NPDES) permit for the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Massachusetts is endorsed by the following organizations:

  • Association to Preserve Cape Cod Jones River Watershed Association
  • Beyond Nuclear MASSPIRG
  • Biofuelwatch On Behalf of Planet Earth
  • Boston Downwinders Pilgrim Coalition 
  • Cape Cod National Seashore Advisory Commission Pilgrim Watch 
  • Cape Downwinders
  • Clean Water Action Public Laboratory for Open Technology 
  •      and Science 501(c)3
  • Concerned Neighbors of Pilgrim
  • Conservation Law Foundation Safe and Green Campaign
  • Davistown Museum Sands of Whitehorse Beach Association
  • Down Cape Downwinders Three Mile Island Alert
  • Eel River Watershed Association Toxics Action Center
  • Herring Alliance