Thursday, September 13, 2012

Catching Up: The River, Lawsuits and Some Anniversaries

September 12, 2011
In front of courthouse in Brattleboro

It's time for a little catching-up.

Shaffer at ANS Nuclear Cafe on Plant Cooling

At  Vermont Yankee, as at other plants, heat rejection includes the river. (At VY, I say "includes the river" because there are also cooling towers.) Opponents use the thermal discharge as a way to attempt to shut down the plant, or alternately, to harass the plant into unnecessary and expensive use of its cooling towers in all weather.  Howard Shaffer has an excellent post on water issues at Vermont Yankee, and how they are distorted by the plant opponents. His post was published at ANS Nuclear Cafe Tuesday: Plant cooling a stumbling block?

Lawsuits: The Present

Lawsuit about discriminatory taxes: New Lawsuit

Yesterday, Vermont Yankee filed a lawsuit against the state of Vermont in federal court  Vermont Yankee had been paying $5 million a year in a generation tax to the state of Vermont. It had also been paying another assessment, calculated by a formula, to the Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF).  Entergy agreed to this when it moved some of its fuel rods into dry cask storage.

Vermont Yankee paid around $7 million to the CEDF some years.  However, the agreement to pay into the CEDF ended on March 21, 2012.

 In January of 2012, the Vermont Legislature passed a bill requiring Entergy to pay more than $12 million in a generation tax. In other words, as the CEDF agreement with Entergy ended, the state just added that $7 million to the generation tax. The state didn't want the revenue stream to end when the agreement ended. You'd think that an agreement is an agreement, with a date on it.  Not in the Vermont legislature, apparently.

Yesterday, Entergy sued the state in federal court against this discriminatory taxation.

I will blog about this more in the future.  Meanwhile, this AP article gives a good description of the grounds of the lawsuit: Vermont Nuke Plant Sues Over New State Tax.  You might also enjoy reading the comments on this short WCAX article on the lawsuit.

And oh, I can't resist.  A link to my January blog post:  Taxing Fuel Rods: The Vermont Legislature Plans Another Law Which Will End Up in Court.

I was right.  It ended up in court.

Lawsuit about Federal Pre-Emption: New Briefs in Old Suit

Vermont Yankee won its case in Federal Court, and Attorney General Sorrell filed his brief for the appeal. I blogged about his brief in June: It's the Renewables, Stupid? Vermont Files a Brief.

Since then, Entergy has filed its brief, and Amicus Curiae briefs have been filed.  I am not  on the opponent mailing lists, but I am on Entergy's mailing list for plant information.  Therefore,  I received copies of Entergy's brief and the plant supporters Amicus Curiae briefs. (These documents are all part of the public record as soon as they are filed.)

The Vermont Attorney General's Office has a webpage for Vermont Yankee filings, but alas, it is out of date at this point.  But I fixed that!  I didn't fix the AG's website, but I put up a web page on the Energy Education Project Website.  Here it is:

This page includes Judge Murtha's ruling, the State brief, the Entergy brief, and five pro-Entergy Amicus Curiae filings.

Anniversaries: The Past and the Pictures

I thought about September 11, and I will always think about it. I didn't blog about it this year, but here's a link to my blog post of last year: The Tenth Anniversary and Conspiracy Theories

More cheerfully, a year ago September 12 was the first day of the court hearing in Brattleboro on the Vermont Yankee federal lawsuit. Anti-Vermont Yankee people, mostly dressed in black, held a vigil in front of the federal courthouse. Vermont Yankee supporters, many with white t-shirts, held a rally.

 I decided to illustrate this post with some pictures from that day.  The picture at the top shows plant supporters on the right, plant protesters on the left, and a documentary film-maker taking a movie of it all. You can read more about the rally at my blog post: Rally Retrospective: On the Sidewalks for Vermont Yankee.

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