In his remarks about Entergy’s announcement, Gov. Shumlin went out of his way to say that he would “use this opportunity to build better relations with Entergy.” Anyone who has watched the Shumlin mode of operation should take this olive branch with a boulder of salt.
Peter Shumlin founded his political career on opposition to Vermont Yankee, and accelerated it when
He supported the continued extortion of Entergy to extract another $28 million in 2005 in return for allowing Entergy to store spent fuel rods in concrete casks at Entergy’s expense on its own property.
He strongly supported the two judicially overturned acts of the legislature that put 180 politicians – the great majority of them anti-nuclear Shumlin supporters - in charge of whether Entergy could be allowed to continue operation of the plant beyond its scheduled closing date of March 22, 2012.
When Entergy applied for Public Service Board authority to extend the plant’s operation, Shumlin notoriously tried to extort it again to sell power to Vermont utilities at below market prices. This is not rumor. This was found to be fact by the Federal District Court in its 2012 ruling against the state.
He rarely if ever passed up the opportunity to advise us that “Entergy can’t be trusted” – when it was the legislature, not Entergy, that broke the 2002 Memorandum of Understanding. And of course he strongly supported attorney general William Sorrell’s costly but futile efforts to persuade a court to allow the legislature to have total control – with no appeal – over Vermont Yankee’s future.
With this long, outspoken, and unbroken record of opposition to the nuclear plant and its corporate owner, can we expect Peter Shumlin to now seek “better relations” with Entergy? It’s far more likely that he, his regulators and lawyers, and his legislative friends will spend the rest of his time in the Governor’s office extorting every last dime out of Entergy to fund their own pet projects, and when that is pushed as far as it can go, forcing Entergy to spend as much as possible through more of the “cumulative regulation” that Entergy says contributed to its decision to close the plant.
In return for agreeing to allow Entergy to operate one more year, look for Shumlin’s Public Service Department to side with the anti-nuclear advocates to insist that the site be “greenfielded” by digging down forty feet to remove ordinary (non-radioactive) concrete foundations, instead of just covering them over with a few feet of dirt. This pointless digging, trucking and burying would require millions more in decommissioning dollars and possibly, along with other cost-inflating demands, force Energy to contribute tens of millions of dollars more into the Decommissioning Fund.
Look for the Department to push for Entergy to begin decommissioning immediately, instead of the more sensible practice of “Safstoring” the plant for twenty years, when it will be a lot easier and safer to dismantle. (Shumlin has emphatically but wrongly denied that the state ever agreed to allow Entergy to choose to Safstor.)
at a dinner in his honor
There are many more issues that will be raised in the coming year, not the least of which is Shumlin’s extraordinary claim that “decommissioning is a job creator”. That is the governor’s desperate effort to convert into some kind of “jobs program” his now-successful decades-long campaign to shut down Vermont Yankee, lay off most of its 630 well-paid employees, and kiss off their income tax payments. Stay tuned.
John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute (www.ethanallen.org). The Energy Education Project (directed by Meredith Angwin) is part of the Ethan Allen Institute.