Nothing about what the shutdown of Brookhaven National Laboratory's High Flux Beam Reactor did to cancer research (among other things....).
Sent: Monday May 05, 2003 11:26 AM
STAR's Light Wanes
Hamptons environmental group folds under financial woes
By Bill Bleyer
May 3, 2003
Star power wasn't enough to keep STAR going.
Standing for Truth About Radiation, the East Hampton-based foundation headed
by former supermodel Christie Brinkley and her husband, architect Peter
Cook, has virtually shut down in an attempt to reorganize.
The 6-year-old group that has been suing and lobbying to shut down nuclear
reactors has dissolved its 11-member board of directors that had included
luminaries such as actor-writer Spaulding Gray, let go its staff of three
and on Wednesday closed its office on trendy Newtown Lane because it was
But Cook, the chairman of the board, said Friday that STAR will be
reconstituted with a new board of financial heavyweights who can afford to
fund its annual budget of around $400,000 out of their pockets.
In the meantime, the foundation formed in 1997 to push for shutting down
Brookhaven National Laboratory's High Flux Beam Reactor for safety reasons
will continue to maintain its Web site - www.noradiation.org - and
Washington consultant so it can continue some projects.
While STAR's public face was its media events such as the celebrity-studded
protest cruises featuring Brinkley, Billy Joel and Jimmy Buffett trying to
shut down the Millstone nuclear power plant in Waterford, Conn.,
environmentalists and East End public officials praised the group for its
dedicated scientific and lobbying work to fight the threat of nuclear contamination.
"We accomplished a great deal," said Scott Cullen, STAR's counsel before
becoming director of coastal conservation programs for the Nature
Conservancy's East Hampton office this week. "We shut down the reactor at
the lab" and helped push the Long Island Power Authority to begin an
offshore windmill project. "With Millstone, we were doing
high-profile events but we were also engaged in five or six lawsuits and
conducted scientific sampling over there."
East Hampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said "they played an important role
in closing down the nuclear reactor at Brookhaven, promoting renewable
energy and putting pressure on Millstone to make safety improvements."
But critics saw the group as biased hysterical dilettantes.
"STAR had almost zero scientific credibility," said Stephen Shapiro,
director of Brookhaven National Laboratory's Center for Neutron Science.
The problem for the group, Cook said, was that it was hard to get people on
Long Island - and beyond the Island - interested in Millstone and the lack
of an evacuation plan for the East End in case of a nuclear accident.
"People don't want to think about it as a New York issue," he said, "but
Millstone is 11 miles from the South Fork of Long Island and we have no evacuation plan.
"The bottom line is that STAR ran out of money at the end of last year,"
Cook continued. "We had a very aggressive campaign last year to develop a
new Web presence and TV commercials and print ads in the hope that it would
give us something to market to get people to donate. It turned out that it
didn't." He said the poor economy and concerns about security after the
Sept. 11 attacks also hurt fund-raising.
Gwynn Schroeder of the North Fork Environmental Council, whose group worked
with STAR on Millstone, said, "I think they were extremely effective. They
were really dedicated individuals and there will be a big void."
Copyright © 2003, Newsday, Inc.
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