Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Agreement between Vermont Yankee and Some State Agencies

The Agreement

The Department of Public Service (PSD), the Agency of Natural Resources, and the Vermont Department of Health signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Entergy on December 23.

The link is below (13 page pdf).

The Missing Link

Christopher Recchia
Dept of Public Service
Understanding this agreement and commenting upon it will take some time. Right now, however, I want to point out that one important agency has not signed off on this yet--the Public Service Board.  For this agreement to take effect, the Public Service Board must grant Vermont Yankee a Certificate of Public Good (CPG) in accordance with the provisions of this agreement.

 The agreement gives the Public Service Board a deadline of March 31, 2014 for granting this certificate.

Section 2 of the agreement below:

Entergy VY and PSD shall jointly recommend to and shall support before the Board the issuance of CPG(s) effective as of March2l,2012, for: (1) operation of the VY Station through December 31,2014, and (2) storage of SNF derived from such operation, as requested by the second amended petition filed by Entergy VY in Board Docket No. 7862 on August 27,2013. Entergy VY and PSD will submit a Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") to the Board, in the form attached as Exhibit A, in connection with those filings.

In the event that by March 31 ,2014, the Board has not granted Entergy VY a CPG that: (i) approves operation of the VY Station until December 31, 2014, and the storage of SNF derived from such operation; and (ii) approves the Parties' jointly filed MOU substantially in its entirety and contains conditions that do not materially alter, add to, or reject what is provided for by the MOU, each Party agrees that this Agreement may terminate, if such Party so determines in its sole discretion and provides written notice within ten (10) days of Board issuance of its order, whereupon each Party shall be placed in the position thatit occupied before entering into this Agreement, except that the obligations of paragraph 3(a) through (c) and the actions taken thereunder are final and shall not be affected by any termination.

Sections 3 a, b and c....this is an agreement that both sides (state and Entergy) promise not to appeal the court of appeals ruling in the major federal lawsuit. I blogged about this issue in The Second Lingering Lawsuit: The Attorney Fees.  I said that the state was unlikely to bring an appeal, since they had lost on the pre-emption issue in two courts.

Not Over Till It's Over

The day after the agreement was signed, I was interviewed by Pat Bradley of WAMC: Vermont and Entergy Reach Agreement on Future of Vermont Yankee Operations.

Here's my quote from that interview.

Public Service Board members Coen, Volz and Burke
See note below
Ethan Allen Institute Energy Education Project Director Meredith Angwin has worked in the power industry and pens the blog Yes Vermont Yankee. She notes that the Public Service Board, which has a case involving the plant, was not involved and expects some controversy to continue.   “What they really kind-of announced is that the Department of Public Service would advocate for this agreement before the Public Service Board. And the Department of Public Service carries a lot of weight. The Public Service Board still has to rule, but the intervenors will have plenty of time in front of the Public Service Board to say ‘no, no that’s a terrible idea, that’s a terrible idea.”

In other words, it's not over till it's over.

Note:  Coen has left the Public Service Board and been replaced by Margaret Cheney. Here's the new page with the new picture.    However, at the time of the Cheney appointment, I got the impression that Coen would continue to serve on any open dockets and Cheney would take over new dockets.  It is not clear to me which group of board members will be seated on the bench for this docket.  I will let you know when I find out.


Tom Buchanan said...

Board Member Coen remains on the case until it concludes. See 30 VSA, Section 3(e):

(e) Notwithstanding section 2004 of Title 3, or any other provision of law, members of the board may be removed only for cause. When a board member, who hears all or a substantial part of a case, retires from office before such case is completed, he or she shall remain a member of the board for the purpose of concluding and deciding such case, and signing the findings, orders, decrees and judgments therein. A retiring chairperson shall also remain a member for the purpose of certifying questions of law if appeal is taken. For such service he or she shall receive a reasonable compensation to be fixed by the remaining members of the board and necessary expenses while on official business.

Meredith Angwin said...

Thank you, Tom!

Howard Shaffer said...

The antis have said they want decommissioning and greenfield conditions in a CPG.

I predict the Board will hear them, then approve the agreement. The Board has lots of other issues and won't want to waste time on this.

The antis will be mad, but won't be able to do much.