Vermont Press Releases

Vermont Yankee says “Thank You!”


Dec. 3, 2012

About the Author: Chris Wamser is the site vice president of The Vermont Yankee Nuclear
Power Station in Vernon.

As site vice-president of Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Vernon, I am aware that our
600-plus highly professional, hard-working employees wish more Vermonters knew what they
know: that Vermont Yankee manufactures an essential product – electricity – in a skilled,
environmentally clean, and reliable manner. I see their commitment to training, the professional
way that they conduct themselves daily, and the tremendous benefit their work has to the
environment and economy – both locally and statewide.

So it was with great satisfaction that I watched Vermonter after Vermonter, from every corner
of the state, ask the Vermont Public Service Board Wednesday, November 7 at the Vernon
Elementary School to grant a certificate of public good for Vermont Yankee to continue
operation for another 20 years.

Looking at the packed gymnasium at Vernon Elementary School, I estimated that about 280
attended. Of these, nearly 200 wore large green stickers supporting Vermont Yankee and/or
spoke in favor of VY’s continued operation. The 50 or so pro-Vermont Yankee speakers were
distinguished by their civility, strong grasp of facts and figures, and willingness to travel far on a night for which a Nor’easter was predicted.

Supporters discussed a variety of benefits. For example, Dick Trudell from Grand Isle County up
on the Canadian border reportedly traveled 360 miles round-trip – about six hours – and then
spent three hours on a metal folding chair in a school gym, all for the chance to speak for two
minutes to Vermont’s “energy court.” Mr. Trudell told the PSB that Vermont Yankee is
important for grid reliability.

Bruce Shields of Wolcott – a Lamoille County town on the fringes of the Northeast Kingdom –
argued that Vermont’s wood products manufacturers and farmers have been paying more and
more for electricity in recent years, and that closing Vermont Yankee would only make matters
worse. The grandson of a dairy farmer, he noted that modern farms depend more than ever on
electricity. Rate increases threaten their bottom line, because the agricultural market sets the
price of milk. Farmers therefore cannot simply pass along the rate increase to the customer.
Reg Wilcox of Cambridge, a retired Army Reserve officer, praised Vermont Yankee for hiring
large numbers of veterans. With our nation relying heavily on citizen soldiers of the Army
Reserve and National Guard, having a job to come home to is essential to our national security
and is also just the right thing to do, he noted. Carl Pinkham of Northfield, a retired environmental studies professor, and Heather Sheppard, a Jeffersonville tourism industry employee, stressed the benefits of keeping a virtually carbon-free electricity manufacturer. A Burlington-area real estate owner described how high power rates reduce property values and raise rents. Scientists and engineers from Middlebury, Norwich and Wilder also spoke in favor of continued operation.

Space does not permit a full thank you for every pro-Vermont Yankee speaker, but at least one
more deserves special mention: former Gov. Thomas Salmon, of Rockingham. He eloquently
described how Vermont Yankee has from its beginning provided affordable, reliable electricity
to Vermont and New England, and should be allowed to continue to do so for another 20 years.
The day after the hearing, many Vermont Yankee employees told me how much they appreciated the outpouring of well-informed support. On behalf of the good men and women operating Vermont Yankee, I would like to say “thank you” and “message received” from the dozens of Vermonters who made the trek to Vernon on November 7 to show their support.

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  • Gary Sachs

    Great Mr. Wamser-
    How many of those speakers did you have to pay?
    How many people with the green stickers did you pay?
    How come the meeting doors were not supposed to enter until 6;30 and at 620 200 VY supporters packed the hall…
    Nice going.
    I hope you heard the PSB order of 11/29.
    Entergy now has no state permission to operate after March 21,2012.
    You broke another promise to the state regulatory board.
    You will get your due
    Vermont Yankee is Closing

  • david klein

    The Public Service Board has stated that they decide cases based on evidence, not on numbers of people pro or against. Unfortunately, Entergy has repeatedly broken agreements with Vermont and lied to the PSB. Entergy is an untrustworthy corporation that is trying to force Vermont to stay leashed to an aging nuclear power plant. Creating more high level nuclear waste, and storing it in crowded open pools of water on site, has the potential to do an incalculable disservice to the public which far outweighs the economic benefits to their skilled, dedicated employees and the State.

  • Bob Stannard

    Perhaps Mr. Wamser could inform Mr. Shields, Pres. of the Ethan Allen Institute, that Vermont’s utilities are no longer purchasing ANY power from this plant. Why? Because it’s too expensive.

  • Ralph Colin

    Mr. Sachs:

    Your suggestions that speakers on behalf of Vermont Yankee were offered compensation to do so are insidious and intentionally deceitful. While I was informed of the opportunity and invited to attend the session held in Bennington (and while I intended to do so but was unable to be there due to circumstances beyond my control), there was never even a hint that any payment would be offered to support the continued operation of the plant. Such insinuations on your part are without substance or merit and reflect only the tactics which might be useful to those who oppose Vermont Yankee, but would never be used by those who are in charge of the plant in Vernon.

    Your wild accusations of this nature are typical of those
    on your side of the fence who, without cessation, continue
    to argue irresponsibly and without civilty to further your cause. The fact that you even suggest that such things took place throw a dark light on your own anti-Vermont Yankee strategies. Shame on you.

  • Bob Stannard

    In defense of Mr. Sachs I think an argument could be made that many, if not most of those who attended the Vernon meeting were VY employees, thus getting paid.

    Entergy has been using its employees as a shield in this debate since the 26-4 bi-partisan Senate vote in 2010. It should be interesting to watch and see if Entergy reciprocates the loyalty shown by the employees should this plant no longer become economically (CEO Wayne Leonard has publicly stated that this plant is marginal).

    The point Mr. Colin opts not to address is the more obvious one; inasmuch as Vermont utilities are no longer doing business with Entergy, because they have secured cheaper power at better terms elsewhere, why do we need this plant owned by a morally bankrupt corporation and doing little more for Vermont than heating its river and contaminating its soil?