Breaking News: In response to today’s decision by the U.S. District Court that Vermont Yankee may continue operation beyond March 2012, Sandra Levine, a senior attorney in CLF’s Vermont office said, “This is a setback for Vermont and a setback for clean energy. This decision forces Vermont to prop up an old, polluting nuclear reactor, and its untrustworthy owners. This matter will likely go back to the Vermont Public Service Board. We hope they will confirm that Vermont Yankee has outlived its useful life and is ready to retire. It is time to end Entergy’s legacy of broken promises and lackluster oversight. Vermont is ready to join New England’s move away from obsolete, dirty, power plants and lead the region in its transition to clean, renewable energy. We hope the State will appeal the Court’s decision and seek to affirm its right to determine its energy future.”
A little background on a long-running case: By the terms of a Vermont law passed in 2006, as well as the 2002 approval of the sale of Vermont Yankee, and a 2002 express agreement with Entergy, approval by Vermont is needed for the plant to continue to operate after 2012. In 2002, the Vermont Public Service Board approved the sale of the Vermont Yankee facility to Entergy. The sale included an agreement by Entergy not to operate the plant after 2012, when its license expires, without obtaining regulatory approval from the Vermont Public Service Board. Concerned about whether it would be good for Vermont if Vermont Yankee to operated past 2012, the Vermont Legislature passed a law in 2006 requiring approval of the Legislature before the Public Service Board could issue a new license. In 2008 and 2009 proceedings were underway at the Public Service Board to consider a license extension. In an historic vote in 2010 the Vermont Senate declined approval. In April 2011, Entergy filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court challenging Vermont’s authority to regulate and license the power generation facilities operating in the state. Conservation Law Foundation and Vermont Public Interest Group (VPIRG) later intervened on Vermont’s side in the lawsuit. For a complete timeline of the activities leading up to today’s decision on Vermont Yankee, click here.