Federal Judge Strips State of Right to Shut Nuke: Legislators Diddle but Vermonters Take Matters into Own Hands
Newfane--Entergy Nuclear of Louisiana, which operates the Vermont Yankee (VY) nuclear reactor in Vernon Vermont has launched an attack on the state of Vermont with the help of the federal courts.
Vermont state law gives the state the power to decide whether to allow further operation of the reactor past March 21, 2012 (the expiration date for VY). When Entergy bought VY, they agreed to this law and swore that they would not try to abrogate it. This was an outright lie on Entergy's part, and they sued the state as soon as it was decided that further operation of this crumbling, leaking and led-by-liars reactor would NOT be in the interests of the state and they were not given permission to continue operation past March 21.
Federal Judge J. Garvan Murtha, a Bill Clinton appointee to the federal bench in 1995, gave Entergy all that they wanted and denied Vermont the right to legislate on this matter. The judge misconstrued testimony and completely ignored the case presented by the state to show that the Vermont legislature acted within the purview allowed by federal law. In his decision he cites quotes referring to safety that are either unattributed or taken out of context, having been expressed outside of the actual process of crafting the legislation. Some quotes cited even fail to distinguish between legislators and advocates who were speaking in committee hearings.
This ruling goes hand in glove with current Federal policies that enrich the 1% and keep power firmly in the hands of America's largest corporations. It affirms that corporate profits trump the interests of the citizenry. And it's based on the laughable notion that only the Federal government can be trusted to keep us safe from radiological accidents caused by corporate malfeasance and profit-driven lax practices.
The executives of Entergy have lied under oath repeatedly to the Vermont legislature. Reactor officials testified that there were no pipes in the ground underneath the plant, but that falsehood was exposed when the source of tritium leaks at the reactor in 2011 were found to be coming from a network of underground pipes located precisely where they claimed there were none. Entergy repeatedly warned that VT would lose a reliable energy provider if VY went off line, but VT utilities have chosen to buy future power elsewhere and not one watt of VY power will be purchased by any Vermonter. Entergy tried to bribe the legislature (in Louisiana talk, they called it a gift offer) and have run roughshod over every aspect of the state's self governance, relying on their tight association with the NRC, which abets rather than regulates the industry, to ensure that their reprehensible actions are allowed to occur unchecked.