Rudy Giuliani’s rep as a crisis manager has scored him more work, this time advising the Entergy corporation, which operates two Louisiana nuclear plants and other power systems in the area, on recovering from Hurricane Katrina. It’s the latest in a string of jobs the ex-mayor’s firm Giuliani Partners has taken on, providing emergency planning and risk management to a slew of corporations. From a financial standpoint, these deals are a good thing for the mayor. But politically, risk management has its risks.
Take Entergy: Giuliani Partners actually began advising the company in April 2003, agreeing to “review and provide advice on emergency planning and security matters” on several Entergy nuke plants, including the one at Indian Point in Buchanan.
Of course, Indian Point has been a subject of controversy since 9-11, with residents worried that a nuke plant so close to New York City poses too tempting a target for terrorists. Those fears haven’t been assuaged by recent developments. Last week, there were scattered failures during a test of emergency warning sirens. And today comes news that some water has leaked from the pool in which Indian Point stores its radioactive used fuel rods (though the Nuclear Regulatory Commission sees no public risk).
Entergy spokesman Jim Steets says Giuliani Partners have been “terrific,” especially in strengthening the ties between the plant and local law enforcement. “They help us with those relationships as well with the various procedures and programs we have in place to ensure an effective emergency response plan,” Steets says. Asked if the siren system is part of Giuliani Partner’s purview, Steets tells the Voice, “It really is.”
Even though Entergy spent $4 million on the current siren system—which includes sensors that report if a siren sounded, rotated, and received a radio signal to activate— “they’ve been problematic enough such that we’ve decided we need to explore replacing them in part because . . . confidence in the siren system we have now is eroded,” Steets says. “So we’re going to explore that, and we’re doing that with Giuliani Partners.”
Giuliani’s potential future political opponents will likely do some exploring, too. So while Rudy’s 9-11 rep would be a big plus in, say, a run for president, it could become a minus if he’s seen as having banked on 9-11 to win lucrative partnerships with potential public safety risks like Indian Point or a proposed natural gas facility off Long Island. For Rudy, Dubya, and other leaders, 9-11 can cut both ways.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 21, 2005