nvironmentalists will start running
a series of advertisements today to turn up the pressure on
Gov. George E. Pataki to shut down the Indian Point nuclear
power plant, which they call a terrorist target and a threat
to millions of people.
The ads, financed by the group Riverkeeper, include an
ominous television spot with satellite views of Indian Point
at the center of an immense bull's-eye. The narrator speaks of
the "evacuation zone" and "peak fatality zone," and says,
"within the peak injury zone, there are some pretty big
towns," as the camera zooms in to Manhattan.
Riverkeeper's campaign raises the volume and the political
stakes of one of the most heated issues in the Hudson Valley.
The television ad will appear in New York City and the Hudson
Valley, and will coincide with print ads in Metro-North
Railroad stations and some newspapers.
Officials at Riverkeeper say they hope to force the
governor's hand now, because they believe he will be more
likely to move against the plant under the pressure of a
political campaign, when he has more to fear from public
opinion, than after the election. Polls show Mr. Pataki with a
sizable lead over his Democratic rival, H. Carl McCall, who
has said the plant should be closed.
Mr. Pataki's office would not comment directly on the ads,
or on the concerns raised by Indian Point's opponents.
Instead, a spokesman read a statement that said Mr. Pataki had
"launched the most comprehensive effort in the nation to
combat terrorism and enhance safety at public facilities
across the state."
In the past, the governor has declined to take a position
on shutting down Indian Point.
Larry Gottlieb, spokesman for Entergy Nuclear Northeast,
which bought the two operating Indian Point reactors in the
last two years, called Riverkeeper's campaign "an act of
desperation," and he accused the group, which has not made an
endorsement in the gubernatorial race, of "using their dollars
to push one candidate over another."
The movement to shut down Indian Point ballooned after the
Sept. 11 attacks, when one of the airplanes that struck the
World Trade Center flew down the Hudson, almost directly over
the plant, raising questions about what would happen if it was
Experts in nuclear power and federal officials have said
that nuclear power plants could be terrorist targets.