It’s possible that no single issue has received more attention from VPIRG staff, activists and attorneys over the past 42 years than Vermont Yankee. In fact, VPIRG was founded in 1972, the same year that Vermont Yankee came online.
From the beginning, VPIRG has advocated for less costly and more sustainable ways to generate the power we need in Vermont. Over the years, our organizers and volunteers fought to hold plant owners accountable in many forums. We opposed plans to develop a high level nuclear waste site in state, pressed for tough cleanup and closure requirements, urged legislators to retire the plant as scheduled in 2010 and later stood ready to oppose another 20-year license for the plant had Entergy Louisiana not decided to shut it down this year.
Vermont’s last long-term energy plan did not include Vermont Yankee. And Vermont utilities have not been getting any power from Vermont Yankee in recent years. Few can say they have noticed any difference.
Closing Vermont Yankee puts an end to a long chapter in our state’s energy book. It’s fitting that as VY is unplugged, more Vermonters than ever are plugging in to energy from clean, local, renewable sources.
The answer to our energy needs, and ultimately the solution to global warming, will come with conservation, efficiency and renewable power. These are the areas in which Vermont can lead.
Our thoughts today are with the workers at Vermont Yankee, both those who will be relocating with the closure of the plant, and those who may continue to play a vital role in securing the site and eventually decommissioning it. We wish them well. Our fight was never with them.
We are also grateful to the thousands of Vermonters and residents of neighboring states who worked so hard for so long to see Vermont Yankee safely retired. May its demise usher in the kind of clean energy future that most Vermonters so strongly support.