Friday, December 30, 2016

Hello Governor Scott, and Goodbye Shumlin!

Governor Shumlin's Christmas Greetings

Governor Shumlin (soon to be ex-Governor Shumlin) has been a fierce and unremitting foe of Vermont Yankee.

Yeah, yeah, we know that.  But I was still surprised to see a story by Mike Faher breaking on Christmas Day this year. Here's the article in VTDigger December 26,  Shumlin: Vermont Better Off Without Nuclear Plant.  Two years after the plant closed, and Shumlin is still crowing about closing it?  This is what Shumlin wants to say, just before he exits from being Governor?

 From the article above, some quotes from Shumlin.
Windham County has an advantage for economic development because "We can do cash." (Cash from the Entergy settlement fund for economic development of Windham County.) 
Furthermore, Vermont is "an example of how to reduce your carbon footprint and do electric generation right." 
Here's my opinion of the real meaning of his statements:
  • First, Shumlin is  the "we" in the first statement. Entergy's $10 million in cash for Windham Country redevelopment will not make up for the loss of Vermont Yankee's payroll of 600 people.  However, Vermont Yankee controlled its payroll, while the Governor of Vermont (Shumlin) makes the final decision on how the Entergy economic development funds will be spent.   Indeed, Shumlin has controlled more cash after Vermont Yankee closed than he controlled when it was operating.  Shumlin could "do cash." That was his version of "we."  
  • Second, Vermont Yankee made 70% of the power made in Vermont.  Now, we import this power from the grid....adding some solar and some wind turbines in-state haven't exactly given us this power back. For Shumlin, "doing electric generation right" means that someone else generates the electricity, and they generate it somewhere else.
A Sad Anniversary

Yesterday was the second anniversary of the day that the plant went off-line forever,  December 29 2014.  My Facebook news feed includes many people sharing unhappy memories of the day. I did not enjoy reading Shumlin's cheerful words on Christmas Day as the anniversary approached.

I also encourage people to read my article about the consequences of the closing: Circles of Pain around Vermont Yankee Closing. 

Photo from the Phil Scott gubernatorial transition website
Goodbye to the Old Year

Some of my friends send me New Year Cards with the old Jewish saying:
Goodbye to the old year with all its curses: hello to the New Year with all its blessings.

A major blessing of the New Year is that Vermont's new Governor will be Governor Phil Scott.  I first heard of Phil Scott in 2010.  When Shumlin led the charge against Vermont Yankee in the Vermont Senate in 2010, then-Senator Scott was one of the four senators that voted to support the plant.  Twenty-six senators voted against, four voted for the plant.  Scott's vote was a profile in courage.  He urged the Senate to gather more information, and not just blindly charge to close the plant.

Here's the video of his remarks.

Governor Scott and A Party

And now, Scott will be Governor of Vermont!  Assuming the roads are clear, my husband and I are going to Governor Scott's inaugural ball next weekend. I don't  go to balls  and galas on a regular basis. However, until yesterday's deadline, anyone could buy a ticket.

In fairness to soon-to-be ex-Governor Shumlin, you could also buy a ticket to Shumlin's inaugural ball at the Sugarbush Ski Resort. Mary Powell, CEO of Green Mountain Power, was a major fundraiser for that ball.  I believe the ball was rather lavish.  Here's an older article that I wrote about the close ties between Shumlin and Green Mountain Power.  And here's an article in which Shay Totten wonders if it was just coincidence that Mary Powell raised $190,000 for the Governor's ball just before a Vermont agency needed to rule about a proposed Green Mountain Power wind farm. (Again in fairness, Shumlin's ball was a fundraiser for Vermont National Guard Charitable Foundation.)

Governor Scott's ball will be at a more modest venue: the Army Aviation Facility at the Burlington Airport.  Scott's ball will be a fundraiser for charities that support those who serve or have served in the military.  I plan to be there.

Vermont is not "better off without Vermont Yankee."  But Vermont will be better off without Peter Shumlin as Governor.  Hello, Governor Scott!


Unknown said...

Meredith, you have my heartfelt thanks for yesterday's post. I do not know how many years it will take for Vermont to recover from Shumlin's conniving agenda, the loss of Vermont Yankee, and his forced imposition of wind and solar RE, which the wrong technology in the northeast. Distributed low efficiency electric energy generation will not replace central generating plants such as Vermont Yankee.

I know incoming Gov.Scott will stand with the clear thinkers of Vermont. Once in 2011, during our BSA troop's visit to the State House and an invite to hang-out with Lt. Gov. Scott in his office, I shook his hand an asked him to work to keep VY open. His sincerity was very evident and positive. I pray he has the strength to veto the coming RE onslaught.

Meredith Angwin said...

The Senate voted to close Vermont Yankee after a tritium leak, but before they received a report on the economic effects of the plant. They had commissioned this economic report, which was paid for by the taxpayers of Vermont, of course. The report was due to be released in March. The Senate, pushed by Shumlin, voted in February, before the report was out.

Of course, this made it harder for Vermont to argue in front of federal courts that the Senate vote was all about economics, not safety. If it had been about economics, the Senate would have waited for the economic report.

Howard Shaffer said...

How long to recover economically from the loss of Vermont Yankee? Twenty years, per the official economic report Meredith referenced.

Rod Adams said...

My modest proposal for the most rapid possible recovery for Vermont, especially the area near Vernon.

Work hard to attract a new nuclear power project to the site. A 12-unit NuScale facility would just about replace the power output of VY and it would provide several years of even higher employment than the operating facility did.

The site is well located and has virtually all of the necessary infrastructure to keep the total project cost of a new plant as low as possible.

Sean said...

I agree with Rod wholeheartedly! I'd rather see this area rejuvenate rather than stagnate.

Sean said...

I agree with Rod wholeheartedly! I'd rather see this area rejuvenate rather than stagnate.