Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Can Entergy Trust the State? PSB Comments by John McClaughry

Comments to PSB, Docket 7862,  by John McClaughry

The opponents of everything nuclear, and particularly of Vermont Yankee, are out in full throat one more time to persuade this Board that “Entergy can’t be trusted," and that the Board should not issue a CPG for the final ten months of plant operation.

As a pro-nuclear former Senator with no direct personal interest in the outcome, I would like to call your attention to the fact that it is the State of Vermont that can’t be trusted, not Entergy.

The MOU of 2002 between the state and Entergy set out the rules that the two parties would observe. One was that if Entergy wanted to prolong the plant’s operation after March 22, 2012, it would return to this Board to seek a new CPG.
John McClaughry
at a dinner in his honor,  2013

But the 2005-2006 legislature completely changed the process that Entergy was required to follow to  obtain a new CPG – and it did so deliberately to inject a political roadblock into what both parties in 2002 expected to be an impartial administrative proceeding before an expert board.

In my view, Act 160 of 2006 constituted a material breach of the 2002 MOU. It allowed a majority of House and Senate to vote a death sentence for Vermont Yankee for whatever reasons, or for no reasons at all, except the political urge to pander to emotional but fact-starved anti-nuclear activists.

Following that breach of trust, Entergy had little choice but to litigate to keep the plant open, which it did, successfully.

Now the anti-nuclear forces are howling about “trust.” I agree that there is an issue of “trust,” but it runs the other way – to the faithless legislature that broke the state’s deal and thereby freed Entergy from what it had agreed to.

My recommendation is for the Board to issue a final CPG for Vermont Yankee to operate through the end of 2014, based upon the latest agreement between Entergy and the State.  Then we all can finally put this embarrassing decade of state perfidy and simony behind us.

John McClaughry
Kirby, Vermont

John McClaughry is vice-president and co-founder of the Ethan Allen Institute.  I am the director of the Energy Education Project of the Ethan Allen Institute.  McClaughry sent me a copy of the comments that he sent to the PSB, and I asked if I could use these comments as a guest post.

The PSB is still accepting comments in favor of the plant.

 PSB hearing Brattleboro
November 2012
I encourage readers to take action by emailing comments to the Public Service Board.   Here's the link for comments:

For more information on the Public Service Board hearings and the Memorandum of Understanding, see the blog post Take Action: Comments to the Public Service Board.

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