Sunday, January 12, 2014

Take Action: Comments to the Public Service Board

Vermont Yankee supporters lining up to speak
November 2012 Public Service Board hearing
Take Action:

The Public Service Board is considering the recent agreement between Vermont Yankee and the state. This agreement allows Vermont Yankee to continue to operate until the end of its current fuel cycle, without further lawsuits. I encourage readers to take action by emailing comments to the Public Service Board.   Here's the link for comments;

The Agreement and the Public Service Board

The Public Service Board is now accepting comments on the agreement (Memorandum of Understanding) which was signed by Entergy and various state agencies in December 2013.  This is agreement  will allow Vermont Yankee to operate until the end of the year, and will also require Vermont Yankee to pay around $40 million dollars to the state and to various funds.  It's a really good deal for the state.  Here's a link to the agreement.

As I noted in my earlier blog post, this agreement will not take effect unless the Public Service Board grants Vermont Yankee a Certificate of Public Good substantially based upon the agreement.

It's a good deal for Entergy, also, because it means that Entergy will be able to finish up this fuel cycle in a reasonable and planned manner. With this agreement, Entergy won't have to fight the state in court in order to finish this fuel cycle.  The Department of Public Service, the Vermont Attorney General, the Agency of Natural Resources have all signed the agreement also.

I encourage you to support this agreement in front of the Public Service Board.

Email the Board or Attend the Hearing 

Email your opinion:

Please write your support of this agreement (or whatever your opinion might be), using this form on the Public Service Board site.

Attend the hearing:

If you live in Vermont, you might consider going to the one public hearing about this amended docket. It is Tuesday night, January 14, starting at 7 p.m.

The hearing will be held all over Vermont, in the interactive TV studios set up for this purpose.  Here's the announcement.   Hearings will be held in Bennington, Brattleboro, Johnson, Lyndonville, Middlebury, Montpelier, Newport, Randolph Center, Rutland, Springfield, St. Albans, White River Junction, and Williston.  In other words, if you live in Vermont, there's a studio near you.

Also, attending these local studio events is sort of fun. Not completely fun, but sort of fun. You will see your neighbors, whether you agree with them or not.  These studio events draw a different crowd than the almost-professional anti-nuclear group that comes to hearings in Montpelier or Brattleboro. You can also see people in the other TV studios on the video screen, as the camera moves from location to location.

I wish I could come to Tuesday's interactive TV hearing: I have been to several like this.  However, just at the same time, I need to attend an event which is important to my husband.

In any rate, do email your support of the agreement, if you support it.

Suggestions for what to say

These Public Service Board dockets about Vermont Yankee have been going on for a very looong time. "Coming up to speed" on everything is probably not a realistic option.  Here's the Public Service Board site for this docket, if you want to dive in.

In my opinion, you can just read the agreement itself instead of all the other material.  I suggest writing something very short and simple about "being in support of the state agencies that support this agreement," and/ or "being in support of the workers at Vermont Yankee who will be able to plan their futures more effectively with this agreement."

About the workers: in the last two minutes of this video, Entergy Vice President Mike Twomey explains that an overarching goal of the negotiations was to provide twelve months of certainty for the employees of Vermont Yankee. This video was taken at the December 23, 2013 press conference announcing the agreement.

 You can read more about the press conference, and see the entire conference on video, at this post by John Herrick at Vermont Digger.


Anonymous said...

Plan my future, eh? What kind of future is that? Unemployment? Jingle mail? How can you plan a future when the job you do is disappearing and there are no comparable replacements? Where is a nuclear plant operator going to go, Ben and Jerry's? Starbucks? Take those minimum wage jobs and shove them.

Meredith Angwin said...


I didn't mean to be Pollyanna about the future by posting this. The plant is closing, and there are simply no parallel jobs in the area. In that sense, you are completely correct.

However, if the Public Service Board does not approve a CPG based on this agreement, it can choose to either deny a CPG, or put such impossible constraints on a CPG that Entergy would have to object. This could lead to the plant closing several months early, which would be a worse outcome for everyone's future.

With only a few months to run the plant, nobody should be certain that Entergy would respond to a "no-CPG ruling" by going to court to keep the plant running. It might be less expensive to close the plant a few months early. Which is why this CPG is so important for people's planning.

Anonymous said...

Well, that's why I take a dim view of anyone who says they are going to "reach out to" or "help" or "assist" those whose lives they have destroyed. And that goes for corporate types as well as political scumbags. What are they going to do for someone whose job is to operate a nuclear plant? How much "educational assistance" can they give to an engineer who already has a Ph.D.? Can't get much more "educated" or "trained" than that. And they are going to offer someone like that tuition assistance? Don't make me laugh.

Anonymous said...

That's why I will be leaving as soon as I can and taking the significant amount of taxes I pay to the state of VT with me. Apparently they don't think they need them anyway.

Anonymous said...

Yeah I'm outta here too, but I want to milk their a$$e$ a little before then. So I'll go on unemployment for as long as possible and maybe draw some welfare/SNAP stuff. After unemployment runs out we'll probably do jingle mail on the mortgage and squat until the sheriff kicks us out. Hey, the state screwed me out of a job, so they can support me for awhile. To hell with them. I worked hard all my life just to get the boot. I'm tired of it.

Meredith Angwin said...

Okay, unsolicited advice time.
-Anon 1: Absolutely right. People at VY don't need more training. They are not old-time workers that dropped out of high school to take a factory job. What people at VY need are good jobs, not training. Frankly, IMHO, they won't find such jobs in Vermont.
- Anon 2: Leaving makes sense. After all, Shumlin plans to balance his budget partially on one-time payments from Entergy and after, the tax increases that are coming down the pike! Heck, I have been thinking of leaving, and I'm not even losing a job! But we have limited income and it is more than a bit scary to look at the tax increases that are coming. I would just have to hope our income is so limited that we would be shielded from some of the taxes, but that's a heck of a way to go forward.
-Anon 3: In terms of "milking" Vermont for a while...I understand how you feel. Anger. Perfectly reasonable anger, if there is such a thing. Still, I think looking toward new opportunities would be better for you. Despite what you say, I don't think you would be happy defining yourself as someone who does jingle mail and needs SNAP.

Anonymous said...

Meredith, I'm not going to be happy either way. Pulling up roots and going on the road to be a wandering nuclear nomad is easy when you're foot loose and fancy free, but when you've got kids in school ready to graduate or be seniors in high school, it's another matter. The political bums in Vermont may have ruined my life, but I'd prefer not to put my kids through the hassle and upheaval of leaving when they have a year or less in school. And I won't do minimum wage work. I didn't spend four years in college and three in graduate school to be a barista at Starbucks, no matter what Scumlin says. I won't do decommissioning work. I've spent too much time, effort, blood, sweat, and tears building things up, and I'm not about to try to make a living tearing down what I and others have built just to pick over the bones. So where does that leave me? Can't relocate (kid issues), can't get work (no power plant jobs in VT). Sounds like unemployment, SNAP, squatting, and jingle mail are the only options left. I've played by the rules all my life, and this has been my reward, lousy politicians and kooks have taken it all away. Remember the famous saying, "If the rule you followed brought you to this, of what use was the rule?" At some point, the worm turns.