Closer to deciding Vermont Yankee’s fate

Vermont Yankee is once again in the spotlight.  As two weeks of technical hearings kick off at the Public Service Board (PSB), VPIRG is making the case on why VY’s continued operation is not in the public good. The hearings are part of the PSB Docket 7862 considering whether VY should be granted the Certificate of Public Good (CPG) necessary to continue operations. VY’s last CPG expired in March 2012, the original retirement date for the troubled plant.

Nearly three years after the Vermont State Senate’s historic vote to retire Vermont Yankee, the fate of the plant has yet to be resolved. Since then, Entergy, the out-of-state corporate owners of the plant, have sued the state and are currently embroiled in state and federal legal appeals aimed at prolonging the life of the VY plant beyond its intended 40 years.

VPIRG, together with allies including Conservation Law Foundation and Vermont Natural Resources Council, are party to the PSB docket and are actively participating in the proceedings. Jim Dumont, VPIRG’s attorney on the case, said he will be focused on cross-examining witnesses brought by Entergy and submitting testimony in support of denying the CPG in these next two weeks.

One of the main concerns VPIRG is highlighting at the PSB is the need to provide a level playing field for renewable energy. It’s a must if we are to realize the vision outlined in the state’s Comprehensive Energy Plan. But right now, that’s not the case. In fact, whereas renewables like wind can’t even begin to generate power until they fully fund their decommissioning, Vermont Yankee continues to operate with a sorely inadequate decommissioning fund. If Entergy was forced to incorporate the full cost of decommissioning into their rates, there simply wouldn’t be a business case to continue operations.

VPIRG will be there throughout the hearings to press for fairness in how we treat energy generators and to strongly urge the PSB to find that Vermont Yankee’s continued operations are NOT in the public good.

Our organizers are working with longtime allies to make the case that the public still wants to see VY retired. We’re planning a major public forum in the spring that will demonstrate the problem with VY and other sources of dirty and dangerous power, while touting the benefits of local, renewable power.

In the State House, we’re pressing for legislation that will remove the special treatment for Vermont Yankee. If Entergy is required to pay its fair share to operate VY here, the company may decide that it’s just not worth it. Regardless, it’s important that nuclear power not be given financial advantages over renewable energy resources in the state.

You can help support these efforts in two key ways right now:

1) Tell the PSB that Vermont Yankee’s continued operation is not in the public good, and in fact threatens our state’s ability to move forward to realizing its clean energy future.

2) Make a donation to support our legal advocacy and organizing efforts. In fact, VPIRG has been offered a matching grant challenge to help ensure we can make this VY’s last stand and retire the plant for good. If you can help us raise $15,000 in these next few weeks, our generous donor will match that $15,000 so that we can make this the last time we have to fight this battle.

We know Entergy is not at full strength right now. (Heck, they couldn’t even keep the light on in the Superdome for the Super Bowl!) And they’re being forced to fight on several critical fronts to keep their least desirable plant going in Vermont. So now’s the time to act.

It’s time to turn out the lights on VY. I hope you’ll help us today!

Stay tuned for more updates and actions in coming days…