Residents call for Talen to reopen Brunner Island access points

A public meeting was held on Saturday about the recent shut down of river access to Brunner Island.

MANCHESTER, Pa. — A public meeting was held on Saturday about the recent shut down of river access to Brunner Island.

Nearly 100 people attended the meeting at the Conewago Inn in Manchester, York County. Among the group were officials from the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association, local fishermen, boating enthusiasts and other concerned residents.

In November, Talen Energy suddenly erected a barricade at the entrance to a boat launch on the Susquehanna River just north of the power plant. A popular fishing spot was also closed-off.

William Cornell , board member of the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association, said: “We would encourage the people of Central Pennsylvania to contact their local officials, state legislators, their state representatives and ask them to look into this matter. They want to use our river to make a profit. We want to use our river simply for enjoyment.”

A spokesperson for Talen responded to ABC27’s request for comment and said the company is not required by the state to provide public access to the river. He added that the decision to close-off access points is not associated with any “health or environmental concerns.”

Read Talen Energy’s full statement below:

“There have been a number of recent articles about Talen Energy’s decision to maintain its rights as a private company and property owner. We would like to address these reports and provide the community a better understanding of why it was necessary for the Brunner Island plant to take this action.
First, our Brunner Island employees have clear priorities, which are the safe and efficient operation of the power plant. As an Independent Power Producer (IPP), Talen Energy is not a public utility. As an IPP, there are no requirements to provide recreational programming or public access. As such our company no longer operates recreation programs at any of our plant locations.
As we’ve stated publicly and in prior notifications, our company makes decisions based on its core business objectives, as well as any risks associated with any activity outside those business objectives. The Brunner Island station is an active electricity generating plant and our primary objectives are the safety of our employees and our neighbors, reliable generation of electricity and powering Pennsylvania homes and businesses. In doing so, we’re able to provide good pay and benefits for our employees and contribute to the stability of Commonwealth’s tax base. It is for these reasons that we believe it’s in everyone’s interest that we focus on our core generation business. 
Talen Energy’s Brunner Island station is and will continue to be in full compliance with all permits, as well as local, state and federal laws and regulations. Our decision, which is being made solely as a responsible electricity generator, is to no longer allow individuals to have access to our private property.
Finally, there are certain speculative statements and false assertions that have been published in news reports, which do not benefit anybody, especially the public. It is incorrect and irresponsible for anyone to claim, or otherwise speculate, that the business decision to close access to our private property is associated with any health or environmental concerns.”

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