“To the Editor:
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the inadequacies and poor judgments of FEMA under Michael Brown became fatally obvious. Because of that pitiful performance, Governor Blanco of Louisiana hired James Lee Witt to aid the state’s recovery efforts. Mr. Witt was the director of FEMA for eight years, during which time FEMA became one of the most accomplished and effective federal agencies.
Now that emergency planning for the Indian Point nuclear plant is once again under review, it is worth remembering that James Lee Witt Associates was hired by New York State in 2002 to evaluate Indian Point’s emergency response plan. The $800,000 study which took several months to complete resulted in a 500-page report detailing the plan’s capabilities and deficiencies. The executive summary clearly states that the plan is “inadequate to protect the public from an unacceptable dose of radiation“ so New York State and the counties in the evacuation zone refused to certify the plan. FEMA ignored the report and told the public that the plan was good enough.
For any new review to be valid, deficiencies outlined by the Witt Report must be addressed. These include inadequate roadways, no plan for latchkey kids who would be home without parental guidance, the likelihood that citizens will act independently in their perceived self-interest rather than follow plan protocols and shadow evacuation of people outside the 10-mile zone. Many of these problems are not fixable. Like the flood, Indian Point is a catastrophe waiting to happen.
Croton on Hudson, NY”