Part I of III
As your candidate, I oppose government subsidies to private industry. The nuclear power industry is the most heavily subsidized power industry in history; therefore Vermont Yankee must go. The State subsidizes Yankee in many ways; from free surface water for cooling (I would tax it, as it’s a public asset used privately), to a lucrative opportunity to pollute but pay no fines.
This is my challenge to the Legislature. Stop subsidizing this aged power plant that is being run into the ground by its owner, Entergy Corporation in Louisiana. Stop playing games with your constituents, and with our futures.
The USSR subsidized industry, and as a consequence wound up with heavily polluting old industries that eventually collapsed under the weight of their own bureaucracy. There was no incentive to innovate or improve. The Soviets also wound up with Chernobyl.
I highly recommend Paul Fusco’s retrospective on Chernobyl. “Fusco’s work forces us to remember an important nightmare that we would forget at the peril of our morality and our future.”My position is that the Legislature MUST obey the law: Act 160. They MUST vote as a general assembly on continued operation and storage of waste in the floodplain. So far they have simply refused to vote on this critical issue: “the general assembly shall consider concurrently the issue of storage of spent nuclear fuel… and the operation of Vermont Yankee nuclear power station after March 21, 2012… and shall grant the approval or deny approval of such activities concurrently”.
Why? The incumbents refuse to give a straight answer in numerous public forums in Addison County. They pretend to be against continued operation of the plant. It looks good to public opinion, then they do nothing, put the blame on the feds, citing ‘federal pre-emption’ (a myth). Democrat/Progressives and Republicans argue both sides of the issue… a continuing charade which covers the fact that behind closed doors, the decision’s already been made.
Politics 101: how to be seen supporting an action which you are assured will have no effect. This is how political careers are built: one of these Democrat/Progressives will be the next Leahy, and they’re even now jockeying for position.
In 2005, Sen Claire Ayer (D-Addison) cast the deciding vote allowing Entergy to store its waste on-site, after testimony by former Public Service Board Chairman Richard Cowart. The bill was rushed and a vote forced right before the end of the session… this is done to catch the press and the public off guard, so that we don’t see and can’t drop what we’re doing and rush to Montpelier to testify or protest. “I didn’t see what there was to be gained by waiting until January,” said Ayer, calling the decision a “painful” one.
What was to be gained by waiting ’til January, would have been Ayer hearing from her constiuents on the matter.
But for my opponent’s “painful” decision, continued operation of Vermont Yankee would be unprofitable today!
According to SafeCleanReliable.com, a pro-nuclear power site:
Many legislators said they were concerned that waiting until the next legislative session could jeopardize not only the uninterrupted operation of the plant, but an agreement that was struck between Entergy and the state.
The 2010 Senate vote, denying relicencing of Yankee, was nothing more than a show. Without a general assembly vote, the Senate vote is meaningless. The career politicians know this, continuing to deceive the public and sell us out to their corporate masters.(In 2010 I approached Sen. Claire Ayer, requesting that the State pursue Entergy for fines relating to their pollution of Vermont’s groundwater in their various reactor leaks. I cited the fines that the City of Burlington had to pay after their sewage spill. Ayer replied that going after Entergy would be ‘too hard’. At least I know that in her eyes, corporations have more rights than Vermonters do.)
In fact the back-room deals which resulted in Act 160 enabled Entergy’s operation to remain profitable these past few years. If elected I will call for the vote on this clear and present danger to the health and livelihoods of Vermonters.
A year ago John McClaughry of the Ethan Allen Institute sent a letter to the Speaker of the House and the Senate President, which said,
A plain reading of this statute [Act 160] requires that the general assembly – House and Senate, in the same biennial session – must either grant or deny approval for spent fuel storage and continued operation of VYNPS.
Has the House acted either to grant or deny approval? No. Has the Senate – not last year’s different Senate – acted to either grant or deny approval? No. Are there any plans by the leadership of either of those bodies to act on granting or denying approval? No.
So who is breaking its word here? Moreover, who is violating the law of this state?
There are it seems to me two honorable paths of action for the general assembly.
One would be to pass a bill repealing the requirement in Sec. 1 of Act 160 that the current leadership of the House and Senate has evinced no interest in obeying.
The other would be to put before the House and Senate a straightforward joint resolution either approving or denying PSB’s authority to issue a CPG for spent fuel storage and continued operation of VYNPS. That bill would be similar to S.289, rejected by the previous Senate on February 24, 2010.
The Governor was quick to accuse Entergy of breaking its word. It seems to me that whatever Entergy’s culpability may be, the general assembly is guilty of willfully continuing to ignore its own legal obligation, under its own law of five years ago.
That letter was never answered by either politician, to my knowledge.
I bring you the latest news from the Valley Advocate, written by Stephanie Kraft (original article here):
Nuke Plant Opponents to Swarm the GatesA federal court ruling and NRC decisions in favor of relicensing the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant near Brattleboro have only increased the determination of many in the region to get the 40-year-old plant closed down. That determination, which draws momentum from lack of confidence in the plant’s owner, Louisiana-based Entergy, is receiving extra impetus from events at another Entergy property, the Pilgrim nuclear plant in Plymouth, where Entergy brought in replacement workers after locking out 240 unionized employees because of contract disputes.
A press release from Utility Workers Union of America Local 369 quotes an unidentified replacement worker who said the competence of the Entergy management team at Pilgrim is “pretty low,” and added this disturbing comment: “They’ve been asking us to do jobs we aren’t trained for. There’s nobody in there to do it so we didn’t have a choice. I’m a good tech and good at my job, but I live my life by what’s right—and what they’re doing isn’t right.” The company denies that replacement workers are less qualified than its regular employees.
Meanwhile, in the Valley an “Independence Day” (“Declare your independence from Entergy”) event is in the works for Sunday, July 1. After a rally on the Brattleboro Common at 10 a.m., participants will proceed by bus and bicycle (a flat ride of eight miles) to the gates of the plant in nearby Vernon. Some will enter the property and present the corporation with a “gift” the nature of which is yet undisclosed. Anyone willing to risk arrest by trespassing at the plant must be trained in nonviolent response by an affinity group of the participating organizations, which include the Sage Alliance, the Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance and several others; a training session will be held in Brattleboro on Sunday, June 24th (contact Bob Bady firstname.lastname@example.org). For Upper Valley residents, training will be offered “as needed”; contact Nina Swaim email@example.com.
For information and updates on these events, check http://www.safeandgreencampaign.org/ai1ec_event/independence-from-entergy-action?instance_id or http://sagealliance.net/actions/vermont-yankee-action-7-1-12.