Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Public Service Board Order: Guest post by John McClaughry

John McClaughry

The Public Service Board (PSB) has approved the memorandum agreement between the Public Service Department and Entergy, dealing with closing down Vermont Yankee. PSB approval was given over the vocal protests of the New England Coalition people.

The PSB approved Yankee’s operation until the end of this year, noting gratuitously that it might well have demanded a shutdown if there was any prospect of the plant continuing beyond then.

The Order spent a lot of space discussing what it considers to be a “fair partner” with the state. It described what it called Entergy's "corrosive and bullying attitude  and said that Entergy had made "frivolous arguments to resist valid discovery.” Well, I admit that Entergy made some mistakes that it should not have made in its presentations to the Board.

 But what is curious to me is the Board’s totally ignoring the effect of the 2006 legislature’s  passing Act 160, the law that destroyed the 2002 memorandum of understanding between the state and Entergy. Act 160 is mentioned only once, and only in passing, in the 84 page order.

 So tell me: What kind of “fair partner” was the State of Vermont, when it irresponsibly turned the plant’s future over to legislative control, based on no standards at all? This was outrageous, and the Federal courts overturned it six years later. The Public service Board  harped on Entergy’s procedural shortcomings, but ignored the state’s far more severe misbehavior.


This post first appeared as a radio commentary on WDEV on April 21, 2014.

John McClaughry is a founder and current vice-president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Meredith Angwin is head of the Energy Education Project, which is part of that institute.


Bob Bady said...

In 2006 Act 160 was supported by Entergy, and practically every one in Montpelier, including Gov. Jim Douglas, and Vernon Rep. Patty Odonald. How do you square this fact with this opinion?
Bob Bady
Brattleboro VT.

Howard Shaffer said...

Great insight by John.

The there is the "Public Oversight Panel" dreamed up by the Legislature. They put Arnie Gundersen, an avowed anti nuke on it. He can call himself a "nuclear engineer" because he has a degree that says that. Would you go to a doctor that had a degree and never bothered to get a license? That's Mr. G.

Do you think its possible that Entergy might have thought that the President of the Senate was trying to stack the deck against them?

Where was the media in asking why this panel? Where was the Public Service Dept? Aren't they paid to do this type of oversight?

Howard Shaffer said...

make that first word Then

Meredith Angwin said...


Great comments!

I can't change a comment that someone else has written. This is a protection for the commenters--the blog author cannot change their words.

So people will just have to read "the" as "then". No biggie.


Meredith Angwin said...


You aren't big on fact-checking, are you? You just know the party line, and you repeat it.

Entergy did not support Act 160, and indeed, spoke against it at the time. Entergy should have fought it more vigorously, perhaps. Then Douglas and others might also have been against it. But hind-sight is always 20-20, isn't it? I have two blog posts showing that Entergy was against it and spoke against it in hearings.

The first post includes Cosgrove's comments against Act 160. I wrote this post after doing my own research. The second post is more complete, based mostly on an article in the Time Argus. Thatarticle appeared after I wrote my first post.

Bottom line: Entergy did NOT support this bill. It spoke against the bill, several times.

And here's a post by McClaughry on the same subject, also largely based on the Time Argus article.

All these posts were written in 2011. This is old news, but you still spout your usual statements, ignoring the facts.

Still, as I said in the beginning, fact-checking isn't your "thing." You couldn't even bother to check that Patty's name is O'Donnell not "Odonald".

When you misspell someone's name, it is basically an insult. "I couldn't be bothered to get your name right."

I felt like misspelling your name at the top of this note, but decided to just use your initials. After all, you perhaps didn't mean to insult Patty.

Basically, you just can't be bothered to get anything right.


Howard Shaffer said...


Even if Entergy had supported it for political purposes, it was still a usurpation of power by the Legislature.

There was and is a process - quasi judicial - for energy and communications projects, for a good reason. Its the Public Service Board. They take testimony. There is a record. It may be, and is, challenged in court. Legislative acts can be challenged in state court too, but
this act would have been hard for the state court to deal with, since the PSB is under the law, written by the Legislature.

The PSB is not so easily influenced by winter marches.