4-17-14 – Public Service Board’s Vermont Yankee Order

by John McClaughry

The Public Service Board has approved the memorandum agreement between the Public Service Department and Entergy, dealing with closing down Vermont Yankee, over the vocal protests of the New England Coalition people.

The PSB approved Yankee’s operation until the end of this year, noting gratuitously that it might well have demanded a shutdown if there was any prospect of the plant continuing beyond then.

The Order spent a lot of space discussing what it considers to be a “fair partner” with the state. It described what it called Entergy’s “corrosive and bullying attitude”  and said that Entergy had made “frivolous arguments to resist valid discovery.” Well, I admit that Entergy made some mistakes that it should not have made in its presentations to the Board.

But what is curious to me is the Board’s totally ignoring the effect of the 2006 legislature’s  passing Act 160, the law that destroyed the 2002 memorandum of understanding between the state and Entergy. Act 160 is mentioned only once, and only in passing, in the 84 page order.

So tell me: What kind of “fair partner” was the State of Vermont, when it irresponsibly turned the plant’s future over to legislative control, based on no standards at all? This was outrageous, and the Federal courts overturned it six years later. The Public Service Board  harped on Entergy’s procedural shortcomings, but ignored the state’s far more severe misbehavior.

John McClaughry is the vice-president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Norman Arseneault April 19, 2014 at 1:44 pm

I agree with you completely. For the board to have said anything NOW about how it might have ruled on a longer time frame is transparent and ridiculous to anyone who has been following this issue. I am ashamed at how the state, governor and legislature bullied and deceived Entergy over a long period and I don’t blame Entergy for being aggressive and defending themselves. The press of course, has consistently been silent on the state’s punitive actions. You are right on!


Milton Eaton April 20, 2014 at 1:06 am

The actions of the legislature and government in Montpelier are very like dealing with any Banana Republic in Latin America or Asia. Agreements are only the basis for further negotiations to extract benefits or penalties. Then they accuse the innocent party of bad faith and claim they are the honest, damaged party. A government without honor is a terrible handicap for their citizens.


David Bresett April 21, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Tell me John. Do you recall Vermont Yankee, you know before Entergy bought the failing “Nuclear Power Plant.” It was unaffordable for them. How is it possible for a company to buy a failing Nuclear Power Plant and make it viable for twenty more years. You do know what will happen if it melts down. You realize that any town in that area will have to be evacuated. I think Entergy bought Vermont Yankee with an eye on the money it will make when it closes.


John McClaughry April 22, 2014 at 2:10 am

Vermont’s two utilities were not very good managers of the plant, and wanted out – there may have been PSB pressure as well. Entergy did a 20% power uprate and millions of dollars worth of other improvements to make the plant viable – at least until natgas undercut power prices (coupled with eternally mounting regulatory and litigation bills and a fiercely hostile Governor.)
.. Hopefully Vernon won’t experience the 10 meter tsunami that took out power to Fukushima, but even there the total number of deaths from nuclear failure was…zero. The tsunami took care of the evacuation.


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