Since: Feb 10
S. Londonderry VT
Public Service Board to VY: lies can cost you, but probably not very much
Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:47:45 AM EDT
In yesterday's Brattleboro Reformer, there was this gem:
According to the PSB, the false testimony by Entergy witnesses was sufficiently damaging enough to merit sanctions. The New Orleans-based company, which operates the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in Vernon, will have to reimburse costs to the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, the New England Coalition and the Windham Regional Commission attorney fees and other legal costs related to the plant's misrepresentations about whether it had underground pipes carrying radioactive materials.
I don't expect this to carry a whole lot of teeth. The PSB's interest in actually enforcing anything related to VY is relatively timid. This seems to me to be more of a political distancing move than anything else, like politicians who have been in the pocket of big oil for decades suddenly saying "you know, maybe we should encourage these companies to be a little more responsible" a month after a catastrophic oil spill.
But still, it's nice to see the PSB at least pretending to give a damn about truth and accuracy. Took them long enough, but still...
Since: Feb 10
S. Londonderry VT
Will they order Entergy & VY to reimburse VT for the mess they are making and the mess they leave behind? Or will 'lies still cost, but not that much...'
June 6th, 2010
The Douglas Legacy on Yankee Clean-Up
by Philip Baruth
As Jim Douglas prepares to leave office, itís good to remember one key fact about his gubernatorial legacy: the Governor twice vetoed decommissioning bills that would have done a good deal to make sure that Entergy foots the bill for the eventual clean-up of Yankee Nuclear down in Vernon. Now, to be clear, neither of these two bills in question were strong pieces of legislation, and the second was weaker than the first. But both required Entergy to show the financial wherewithall for clean-up. And both passed the House and the Senate.
Only Jim Douglas prevented them from acquiring the force of law. And itís worth asking, now that the Douglas legacy is beginning to come slowly into focus: to what end?
Yes, sure, Douglas attached a statement to each veto saying that it was designed to shield Vermonters from higher electricity rates. But that was always a disingenuous explanation at best: the bills only called for Entergy to put together a series of financial instruments that would demonstrate their ability to manage the clean-up. That is, the energy giant had to show a line of credit, not a pile of cash. No reason why that would cause rates to spike, or at least no good reason why that would cause rates to spike.
But Douglas twice used that standard excuse, as he did in every instance involving any issue related to Yankee, to fig-leaf what were actually very troubling decisions. Douglas now leaves office without a decommissioning bill in place, and that was clearly his long-term goal.
But again, to what end?
The country is rivetted now on the BP spill, and why not: itís spectacular and horrifying and thereís a live video feed straight from a mile beneath the ocean. Robots are running massive hydraulic equipment, and pelicans are dying in the surf. Itís reality television minus the scripting.
But itís good to remember that even though itís not happening at the same breakneck speed, Vermont Yankee is slowly, over time, becoming a profound environmental hazard in its own right. Thatís written into the equation with a nuclear plant, that the plant itself will eventually need to be disposed of as highly deadly toxic waste. And of course in the case of Yankee, you have all of the additional collateral damage: the leaking radioactive piping, the tritium and strontium plumes, the fish now testing positive in the Connecticut River.
Imagine that Governor Bobby Jindal decided to veto a bill mandating that BP pay for the clean-up of his stateís beaches and marsh land. And then imagine that Jindal vetoed a second bill the following year, and claimed he was doing so to protect the people of his state from higher prices at the pump.
Unimaginable of course.
But the paired Douglas vetoes on decommissioning are equally upsetting and unimaginable, if you wrap your mind around the time-lapse nature of the disaster unfolding at Vermont Yankee. That plant is a profound danger to Vermontís people and its environment, and it will without a shadow of a doubt result in a toxic clean-up currently estimated at somewhere around $1.5 billion.
In the absence of a decommissioning bill, Vermonters are most likely on the hook for a good portion of that staggering expense. That is the Douglas legacy on decommissioning. And Brian Dubie should need to answer, as have all the Democratic candidates for Governor many times over, what he plans to do to protect Vermonters from the crippling liability Jim Douglas insisted time and again that they bear.
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