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Editorial

Protesting the Point Pleasant Pumping Station

We were called “pinkos”

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Hal Marcovitz’s Dec. 30 piece in the Herald about the Point Pleasant Pumping Station stirred memories of my involvement with the Central Bucks Clean Energy Collective.
Any oldtimers still in Bucks who protested the pump, know the “Collective” was an upstart group of environmentalists opposed to withdrawing up to 95 gallons of water a day from the Delaware River. The water, diverted across Bucks and Montgomery counties through streams and reservoirs, was destined for the Limerick Nuclear Power Plant near Pottstown, for cooling the fuel rods in the reactor.
After the March 28, 1979, accident at Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant near Harrisburg, the anti-nuke protests ramped up in Bucks and many places across America. We never were able to verify a rumor that PECO initially had proposed to build its nuclear plant along the bucolic banks of Point Pleasant. Their consolation prize was the pumping station.
People power escalated. Letters flooded local and area newspapers, citizens showed up at the Wednesday Bucks County commissioners’ meetings – many speaking eloquently and with knowledge, about nuclear power and saving the Delaware. At one special commissioners’ meeting, the anti-nukes outnumbered the other side, composed mostly of construction workers, builders and Realtors. Abby Hoffman, “yippie” social activist, came out of hiding and settled in Bucks County helping with organizing peaceful protests.
We even marched in a couple of local parades carrying our huge banner with a lonely duck in the water saying, “No Delaware Water To Limerick.” Labeled “pinkos” by pro pumpers, in the early ‘80s, the Clean Energy Collective sponsored a teach-in at Buckingham Friends School with workshops on conservation, solar panels, solar voltaic cells and wood burning stoves.
I presented the path of uranium from its mining on Native American lands to its radioactive half-life burial in the ground. Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey was our keynote speaker, possibly the only member of Congress at that time who could speak about energy policies.

By 1988, when construction of the pumping station began, over a hundred protestors staged a demonstration. Arrests were made. When a lawsuit filed by environmental group Del-Aware against Bucks County, PECO and Montgomery County Water Authority, construction was halted for months. The court battle ended, the pump was built and interestingly, houses began popping out of the ground all over Montgomery County. Some years ago the Point Pleasant Pumping Station shut down, its walls collapsing into one another.
In recent years proponents for alternative energies are speaking with loud voices. Construction costs for nuclear plants are astronomical; yet the “suits” are beating the drums to build again. There’s talk about conservation and wind or solar funding but the solar industry in America is pretty much owned by China.
Afterword:
A Nov. 22, 2021 Pottstown Mercury article by Evan Brandt stated: “The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission has signed off on a plan by Exelon Corp. to divest itself of its fleet of 23 nuclear power reactors, including the two at the Limerick Generating Station.
“Exelon Corp. will transfer the NRC licenses to a new company, currently called HoldCo, as part of a corporate restructuring, the NRC announced on Nov. 17.
“There is no money changing hands.”


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