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Letter: Shut Down Vermont Yankee

To the Editor:

The Public Service Board is holding hearings around Vermont seeking input on whether or not to grant the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant a new Certificate of Public Good to continue operating. The board should deny Vermont Yankee a new certificate for the following reasons.

We cannot count on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to look out for our public good. Historically, the NRC has proven to be of, by and for the nuclear industry.

Nor can we count on Vermont Yankee’s parent, Louisiana-based Entergy, to look out for our public good. Entergy’s fiduciary responsibility is to make decisions that benefit its shareholders. This has meant deferring maintenance, postponing major equipment replacements and ignoring the rising but impending costs of decommissioning. Entergy subsequently filed suits against the state of Vermont and the Public Service Board to try to reverse a decision the company had previously agreed to and demanded that Vermont taxpayers cover its legal fees.

We cannot count on Vermont Yankee to enhance our public good since it has not even proposed a competitive energy price acceptable to our utilities.

We have counted on the Vermont Legislature, and the state Senate closely examined Entergy’s corporate record. The Senate deemed that record was not conducive to the public good and, reflecting the expressed will of the majority of Vermonters, voted against extending the plant’s license for 20 years.

We cannot count on the courts to look out for Vermont’s public good. Federal Judge Gavin Murtha’s pro-Vermont Yankee decision in the case Entergy brought against the state was based on inference — what Entergy said the legislators were thinking when they voted — rather than on the written legislative record. Murtha’s decision is being appealed, but meanwhile Murtha returned the matter to the Public Service Board; hence, the current case and public hearings.

I ask the Public Service Board to value the constitutional concept of states’ rights and respect the Vermont Legislature’s decisions; examine the history of Entergy’s corporate behavior; and follow the precepts of its own mission statement by denying Vermont Yankee a new Certificate of Public Good.

Betsy Eldredge

Sierra Club of the Upper Valley

Springfield, Vt.