Brad Ferland has been, and I assume still is, a paid lobbyist for Vermont Yankee; so it surprised me to find his opinion piece occupying the paper’s editorial position in the Weekend Messenger.
Be that as it may, Mr. Ferland raises the question of why more members of the public did not show up for the January 14 Public Service Board Hearing on Vermont Yankee. Mr. Ferland seems to think that the forty citizens who did testify represents a negligible number; but be that as it may, I know why I did not, so I can hazard a guess why others did not as well.
The hearing was held on a Tuesday at 7:00 PM. Leave aside the fact that it was a work night for most of us, and the driving conditions were less than ideal, many people had other meetings and obligations on the night in question. That is why the PSB collects statements through a link on their website, from people who are unable to be physically present.
Mr. Ferland fails to mention that one of the key issues under consideration by the PSB, is the fact that Vermont Yankee prefers to save itself some money by not using the facility’s cooling towers in order to bring its water discharges to a temperature that will not harm aquatic life in the Connecticut River. Continued operation by VY under these circumstance, even for a year, has an impact on our already fragile river resources.
The settlement that Mr. Ferland refers to so glowingly, may not be all that it’s cracked-up to be. Much of the supposed “benefit” to Vermont comes from a chunk of cash that is supposed to be used to promote economic development. “Economic development” funds often find their way into already well-lined pockets, and seldom seem to reach the folks who are most in need of help.
When this veil is stripped away, Vermont really does come out on the distinctly losing side of the bargain. And the potential for that loss grows even greater the longer that Entergy postpones decommissioning of Vermont Yankee; because the parent company is not as robust as one might hope for an entity that must be trusted decades ahead of time to finish the job properly in our childrens’ lifetime.
Entergy’s quality and safety control reputation has suffered numerous blows over the past couple of years, but none more spectacular than when they blacked-out last year’s Super Bowl Game!
And we are counting on these folks to keep a lid on the pressure cooker at VY far into the distant future? If I were a betting woman, I would put my money on Vermont Yankee slipping out from under that obligation with some kind of sleazy financial sidestep.
Talk about allowing Entergy time to grow the decommissioning fund makes me laugh. They’ve had forty years of extremely profitable operation in which to cultivate that fund. All that remains fairly certain is that the taxpayers of Vermont will, inevitably, be stuck with much of the bill for cleaning-up what Entergy leaves behind.
“Economic development” funds? Chump change.