Court blocks Vermont Yankee bid to stay open

Sandy Levine | @CLFLevine

Vermont moves a step closer to shuttering the aging Vermont Yankee nuclear power facility as planned in 2012.

In a strong rebuke to Entergy, the facility’s owner, the United States District Court denied a request to keep the plant open while Entergy’s legal challenge proceeds.  Entergy sued Vermont in April.  Entergy seeks to prevent Vermont law – which requires state approval – from taking effect.

The Court denied Entergy’s request for a preliminary injunction, stating:  “This Court declines to order short-term drastic and extraordinary injunctive relief that will not offer certainty either in the short or long term, and will have no operative effect on state actions before trial.”

The Court rejected each of Entergy’s claims of harm.  The Court noted that a decision about refueling is “a business decision made very difficult by the uncertainties of litigation.”  The Court stated:  “In the unique circumstances presented here, the decision to refuel is either not harmful if Entergy prevails on the merits, or is not a cognizable injury if Vermont’s statutes are upheld.”    Refueling would cost between $60 and $65 million.  Revenues of $90 million would be earned from operating the plant until its planned closure in March 2012.

A full trial will take place this fall.  The Court’s decision on the injunction is a solid victory for Vermont at this stage.

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