Thursday, December 26, 2013

Be Prompt and Positive with Vermont Yankee: Guest Post by Patty O'Donnell

Patty O'Donnell speaking to Public Service Board
November 2012

Prompt, positive Vermont Yankee decision benefits everyone

By Patricia O’Donnell, Chair
Vernon Board of Selectmen

For the sake of the residents of Vernon, I strongly encourage the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) allow Vermont Yankee and the State of Vermont to come to an equitable agreement, and issue a clean Certificate of Public Good (CPG) at the end of this year guaranteeing Vermont Yankee’s continued operation until late 2014. An unburdened CPG will provide much-needed and much-warranted economic and environmental certainty and will give all stakeholders the unobstructed opportunity to plan for the future.

As an elected representative of Vernon – a town now facing the loss of its largest employer and taxpayer, significant budget cuts, and mounting questions about its financial footing – I hope the Public Service Board will at least grant us this gift of clarity as we continue the difficult task of planning for life without Vermont Yankee.

Vernon and its residents deserve to know whether Vermont Yankee will continue to operate through next year. A prompt decision by the PSB will allow us to clearly anticipate and navigate the road through 2014 and beyond, and help to ease the financial blow to our school system, our police departments and other local services resulting from the loss of this crucial revenue source.

It is equally important for the Public Service Board to pursue a course that is both fair and equitable and looks to mitigate any further harm. Assigning a tangle of conditions or refusing outright to grant the CPG will only add insult to injury for the people of Vernon – and a contentious ruling will only hinder our efforts to recover from the loss of Vermont Yankee.

For nearly four decades, the town of Vernon, as the host community for this important economic and energy generator, has been integral to Vermont’s strength and sustainability, contributing billions of dollars in tax revenues, billions more in economic benefits, and supporting thousands of jobs statewide.

It is crucial that the PSB act expeditiously and fairly in issuing a decision, and provide some semblance of certainty as we continue through this difficult transition period. The residents of Vernon, indeed all Vermonters, deserve the security of knowing what the future holds.

Note: O'Donnell wrote this before the recent agreement between Entergy and the state.  However, it is still relevant.  The Public Service Board has not ruled yet.

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