Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Very Latest Lawsuit Updated: Vermont DPS not joining opponent
In my blog post a few days ago, The Very Latest Lawsuit, I described an order that the Public Service Board filed, which was strongly-worded against Entergy, but was not a summary judgment against the plant.
In response to that order, an opponent group, New England Coalition Against Nuclear Pollution (commonly called NEC), filed a suit in Vermont Supreme Court to have the Vermont Court take action and shut down the plant.
On the radio, Pat Bradley of WAMC had interviewed me and Pat Parentau of Vermont Law School. I am a plant supporter: Parentau is an opponent. We both agreed that this suit was not likely to get anywhere.
However, NEC hoped to have the Vermont Department of Public Service (DPS) join them in the suit, as DPS had joined them in other suits to attempt to shut down Vermont Yankee.
DPS will not join NEC in this one.
The Department of Public Service Steps Away from NEC
Yesterday, to my surprise, the DPS filed a brief asking the Vermont Supreme Court to deny the NEC appeal. Here's the Burlington Free Press article on the DPS filing I also link to the DPS filing itself posted at the Energy Education Project website. The introduction to that filing:
While the Department appreciates the dedicated work of NEC and other parties over years of litigation with Entergy, the Department nonetheless respectfully requests that the Court refuse the relief requested under 30 V.S.A. $ 15. NEC's complaint does not encompass proper grounds for Section 15 relief; and other reasonable relief is available in pending proceedings before both the Board and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
Well, okay, DPS isn't really stepping away from NEC: they mention "dedicated work" and all that. But DPS realizes that there is no reason to open a docket in a new court for a case that is under active review in two other courts, federal and state.
The DPS decision somewhat confirms my belief that the NEC filing in Supreme Court was more for NEC publicity than to win the case. Indeed, looking at the DPS filing, I realize that if DPS had joined NEC in this filing, DPS would have been undercutting the authority of the Public Service Board to make a ruling on the new docket for the Certificate of Public Good. In retrospect, I realize...of course DPS wouldn't join NEC in this one.
I am talking about 20-20 hindsight here. A few days ago, I thought DPS would join NEC in the Supreme Court filing, since that has been DPS's reaction in the recent past: "NEC is suing--let's join!"
Pat Parentau and I agreed with each other on the radio show a week ago: this filing will almost certainly be dismissed by the Vermont Supreme Court. Looks like DPS came to a similar conclusion.
Howard Shaffer Post at ANS Nuclear Cafe:
Howard Shaffer has a great post ANS Nuclear Cafe today: politics, lawsuits, and trials. Vermont Weather Gets Colder. Vermont Yankee Politics Continue Hot. I encourage you to read it.