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VNRC, Others, File Vermont Yankee Brief in Federal Court

On June 12, 2012 the Conservation Law Foundation, New England Coalition, Vermont Natural Resources Council and Vermont Public Interest Research Group filed an Amicus (Friend of the Court) brief in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the state of Vermont’s appeal to overturn the decision of Judge Murtha.

The brief argues that the Vermont Legislature has clear authority to determine whether to allow the continued operation of Vermont Yankee. It also argues that laws passed by the Vermont Legislature do not conflict with federal law and are part of a decade of energy legislation focused on moving Vermont’s power supply away from older and more polluting power sources, like Vermont Yankee.

The brief also states that “the Legislature’s track record shows that the Vermont Legislature has been passing energy legislation for years in response to constituents’ strong support for transitioning to renewable energy. Vermont engaged in the legitimate exercise of its traditional authority over power planning, including the future use of nuclear power plants. Vermont’s purposes, including planning, economics and reliability, are not only plausible, but show how the General Assembly has been preparing for the eventual closure of Vermont Yankee, whether in 2012 or thereafter, by enacting legislation, including Act 74 and Act 160, to assure that Vermont will be able to timely transition to an economical and environmentally sustainable energy supply.”

Vermont Yankee’s troubled history also shows the validity of the Legislature’s actions, according to the brief.  “Since Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee (Entergy) purchased the Vermont Yankee facility in 2002, a steady stream of mishaps, misrepresentations and disappointments shattered Vermont’s faith and trust in Vermont Yankee and its owners. From the failure to make any contributions to the decommissioning fund, followed by the collapse of the cooling towers in 2007, the proposed “spin off” of the plant to a highly leveraged subsidiary, the false statements to regulators and the broken promises of a power contract that never materialized, Entergy’s actions have had what an Entergy executive described as a ‘corrosive effect’ on the relationships needed to maintain a major electric generating facility within the State.”

To read a copy of the brief, click here.