Vermont Yankee’s closing next year to leave a hole in state budget

Entergy Corp.’s decision to shut down the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in October 2014 will come at a cost to the state of Vermont.

In addition to the loss of more than 600 jobs and the many economic benefits the plant brings to the Windham County region, the state will take a budget hit of $11.5 million to $12.5 million a year.

That’s because if Vermont Yankee isn’t producing power, Entergy pays no taxes on the plant. The state assessed a 0.0025 per kilowatt-hour power generation tax on Yankee last year; Vermont Yankee does not pay statewide property taxes.

Entergy sued the state in federal court over the new tax. A federal judge dismissed Entergy’s case in October, and the company’s appeal is pending. Even if Entergy’s appeal were successful, the Louisiana-based company would still have to pay about $6 million a year to Vermont while the plant is operating.

The Shumlin administration and the Legislature would have to alter the state tax structure to address the issue.

Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding. VTD/Josh Larkin

Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding. VTD/Josh Larkin

“Under the current scenario, we do know there will be a loss. It is significant in size,” Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding said. “That will be one of the challenges we’ll have to address when dealing with the budget.”

This next legislative session the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee will look at revenue options for fiscal year 2015 and beyond. The exact size of the fiscal year 2015 budget shortfall is tied to just how much power is generated between July 1, 2014, and when the plant is shut down.

Entergy Vice President Jeff Forbes said the plant would shut down at the end of its current refueling cycle, 18 months from the last time it was refueled, which was April of this year. Entergy has not yet provided a final shutdown date.

The generating tax Entergy pays quarterly to the state is contingent on how much electricity Vermont Yankee produces during the previous quarter. If Vermont Yankee closes at the beginning of October — which is after one quarter of the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2014 — Entergy would pay the state for two quarters, or six months, worth of taxes.

Under the current tax structure, this would provide Vermont with roughly $6 million in revenue from the plant in FY 2015, about half of its current obligation.

State Senator and Burlington mayoral candidate Tim Ashe. Courtesy photo.

State Sen. Tim Ashe, D/P-Chittenden. Courtesy photo.

Sen. Tim Ashe, D/P-Chittenden, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, says legislators need to figure out how to replace the generating tax this session.

“Do we need to figure out a new way to tax the plant? Yes,” he said. “Figuring out how to do that will be tricky, and we’ll probably look to other states for ideas, if not guidance.”

The plant’s shut down in the middle of the fiscal year complicates matters, Ashe said.

“We need to devise two revenue treatments,” he said. “One for the first half of the fiscal year, and one for the second half when it’s no longer generating. We really need to do this this year. We can’t wait.”

Rep. Janet Ancel, D-Calais, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee says a new tax structure can’t wait.

“We will have to replace the revenues somehow or make cuts,” she said. “I don’t know where we’d cut. I think what we’ll do probably come January is look at the tax structures other states have and see if there is a substitute for revenues that makes sense.”

One state that will be of little help to Vermont legislators is Maine. David Heidreich, spokesman for the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services, said that Maine never applied a generation or property tax to the now decommissioned Maine Yankee plant.

“There was no generating tax or statewide revenue shortfall encountered as a result of the decommissioning of the plant,” he said.

Clarification: Vermont Yankee does not pay a statewide property tax, but it does pay a municipal property tax to the town of Vernon. According to town records, Vermont Yankee paid Vernon $1.14 million in fiscal year 2012, $1.34 million in FY 2013 and $1.3 million in FY 2014.

Andrew Stein

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  • Deb Tyson

    Grass not so green now huh? I swear if an award could be given to stupid , Montpelier would win first prize. As for taxing us more, forget, you figure it out, you wanted it gone and should of been prepared for this long ago, were already taxed to death in a state with no decent jobs left.

    • Sandra Bettis

      should have, not should of.

  • A Governor and Legislature that have long insisted that the Vermont Yankee plant be closed, apparently have given no consideration of how to deal with the resultant consequences. The loss of the generation tax is undoubtedly only the beginning of what is to come.

    Another example of the Governor’s “Ready, Fire, Aim” management style.

    • Coleman Dunnar

      How naïve to expect foresight from our elected officials their only horizon is the next election.
      Example – Right now the crying is about $6 million in the first half year. What about the $11-12million in subsequent years. Let’s not even consider the loss of tax revenue on the approximate $55 million in salaries annually and for extra measure anybody run the numbers on the impact the loss of the 400 plus at IBM jobs will have on revenue? The solution as offered by Ashe and the band of visionaries is to find another way to tax VY. The time is long over-due for some hard self-examination by the body politic as to why a major part of the Vermont economy is packing up and leaving. Now I’m being naïve in expecting that would ever happen

    • Lance Hagen

      Hey, Shumlin has this lost revenue all figured out. That’s why he was on TV late night talking about legalizing and TAXING marijuana

    • Peter,
      The SPEED and Ridge line RE programs are follies (part of the shoot-from-the hip management style) producing energy at 3-4 times grid prices, for the benefit of a few well-connected, multi-millionaires looking for tax shelters, with everyone else footing the bill.

      Below is a a summary FYI:


      The “fix” is in, i.e., laws, rules & regulations, and the “right people” are in place.

      The deck is stacked. The stage is set. Vermont is “on a mission, to make a difference”.

      World CO2 emissions: 33,990 million metric tonnes in 2011, 830 million metric tonnes greater than in 2010, or 102 times greater than Vermont’s total.

      US CO2 emissions: 6,000 million metric tonnes in 2011

      Vermont CO2 emissions: 8.1 million metric tonnes in 2011, about 0.024% of the world CO2 emissions. SOME difference Vermont is going to make.

      “Every little bit helps”? Sure, but it all adds up to a little. What would help the world are doing REALLY BIG THINGS, such as a complete change in life style consuming vastly less energy and other resources/capita, AND reducing the world population by about a factor of 10 over 100 years. BAU will result in about 10 billion by 2050.

      Remember “living lightly on the land” and giving the OTHER fauna and flora a break from oppression by Home Sapiens, who have not been stewards, but destroyers of their habitats? The RE mania will make it worse.

      Bureaucrats in various departments, anxious not to rock the boat, protecting their jobs and pensions, not bold, independent thinkers/doers by nature, are dancing to the same inane, destructive tune, justifying, justifying…..

      The crony-capitalist top folks, telling ANR that saving the planet means destroying mountain ridges, an oxymoron, have ANR jumping at the chance to do “constituent service”, even though ANR mouthes, and ANR rules state, otherwise.

      According to those top folks, chasing as many RE subsidies as quickly as possible to revive Vermont’s low/no-growth economy and saving the planet as a bonus, Vermont needs more SPEED and more ridge line Lowells that produce ever higher electric rates. You don’t say!

      Therefore, “bump-in-the-road” Klein and “30%-solar-in-Germany” Shumlin are in full-steam-ahead-to-the-ridge-lines mode (negatively affecting environment, health, property and quality of life of NEK people), even though ridge line wind in NE England is turning out to be much more costly in capital, O&M, and, because of poor-to-fair wind conditions and rural grid capability, much less productive, i.e., less MWh/yr, less REC revenues, more costs loaded onto rate payers. Not to worry. The PSB will approve any rate increases, after “hearings”, to keep the party going.

      GMP, purposely disregarding the advice of its own power system engineers, and disregarding the 5-yr nearby Maine ridge line production results yielding about 0.25 capacity factors, and disregarding the New York State multi-year average CFs of about 0.235, claimed (lied?) in documents filed with the PSB:

      GMP CF claim: Standard rotor (90 m dia) = 63 x 8760 x 0.2842 = 156,844 MWh/yr
      GMP and DPS SPEED website claims = 63 x 8760 x 0.338 = 186,570 MWh/yr 
      GMP CF claim: Large rotor (117 m dia) = 63 x 8760 x 0.3587 = 197,959 MWh/yr 

      NOTE: In the REAL world, these GMP claims turned out not worth the paper they were written on, but the PSB, in GW fighting mode, found no fault with them. Protecting the intrerests of the public? Sure.

      NOTE: Lowell’s CF for the first 6 months of 2013 was 0.189, with more fiasco numbers to follow for years.

      This means the COST of wind energy is not a tolerable 10 c/kWh, per GMP Lowell spreadsheets, but closer to a hardship 15-20 c/kWh.

      Vermont’s already-struggling households and businesses will have much higher electric rates to look forward to (less wage growth, less job growth, less hiring, less goods and services bought, less taxes paid), thanks to various RE follies hatched by well-meaning, but misguided, self-servers in Montpelier.

      This folly is in addition to the folly of closing Vermont Yankee by end 2014, instead of by end 2032.
      VY annual production = 620 MW x 8760 hr/yr x CF 0.90 = 4,888 GWh/yr, almost as much as Vermont’s 5,600 GWh/yr electrical consumption.
      Energy: near-CO2-free; low-cost, about 5.5 c/kWh; steady, not intermittent, variable as with Lowell; available 24/7/365, not when the wind blows, as with Lowell.
      Direct job losses: VY about 630. Indirect job losses in Windham County at least 800.
      Note: additional jobs are lost in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, but are not counted in this figure.
      Direct tax losses: VY about 4,888 GWh x $250/GWh = $12.22 million/yr. Indirect (VY + other) jobs and businesses in Windham County about $15 million/yr.

    • Peter,
      For your info:

      This folly is in addition to the folly of closing Vermont Yankee by end 2014, instead of by end 2032.
      VY annual production = 620 MW x 8760 hr/yr x CF 0.90 = 4,888 GWh/yr, almost as much as Vermont’s 5,600 GWh/yr electrical consumption.
      Energy: near-CO2-free; low-cost, about 5.5 c/kWh; steady, not intermittent, variable as with Lowell; available 24/7/365, not when the wind blows, as with Lowell.
      Direct job losses: VY about 630. Indirect job losses in Windham County at least 800.
      Note: additional jobs are lost in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, but are not counted in this figure.
      Direct tax losses: VY about 4,888 GWh x $250/GWh = $12.22 million/yr. Indirect (VY + other) jobs and businesses in Windham County about $15 million/yr.

    • John Greenberg

      “Another example of the Governor’s “Ready, Fire, Aim” management style.”

      But deadeye Douglas, manager par excellence, during whose term the Vermont Senate voted to shut the plant down and whose DPS opposed granting a CPG for further operations had it all figured out. Right Peter?

      Since I missed the Douglas plan, I’m sure you’ll be happy and proud to share it with us.

  • Carl Werth

    I think Shumlin and Sorrell should stand up and pay for their desires. They wanted it closed so bad – okay, tax the two of them to pay for the budget shortfall.

    • Peter Liston

      1) Entergy made the decision to close the plant, not Shumlin or Sorrell
      2) The plant was always scheduled to close 40 years after it opened (1972)
      3) If politicians are going to foot the bill for their public initiatives, the Bush family will have a huge debt to pay off!

      • Carl Werth

        1) My most liberal friends tell me it is surely because of the pressure put on Entergy and I am not to believe Entergy’s decision at face value.

        2) Maybe so, but the NRC was fine with another extension.

        3) Unfortuantely, I bet they can afford them.

        • Peter Liston

          The NRC might have been fine with an extension but the marketplace determined that the cost of operating the nation’s oldest nuclear plant was higher than the ability to profit from it.

          It’s over. The fat lady has sung.

          • Walter Judge

            “It’s over. The fat lady has sung.”

            And so has the tax revenue from the plant, and all the other funds the Legislature got from the plant, not to mention the economic benefits to Windham County and the entire state.

          • Peter Liston

            That’s right, Walter. Totally correct. So let’s focus our efforts on that problem instead of continuing to beat the dead nuclear horse.

    • Kathy Nelson

      Sorry Carl, Shumlin is busy paying homage to the Chinese and Sorrell has his hands full suing the EPA over outdoor woodstoves. Vermonters would have better luck getting a tax increase on Jeremy Dodge’s house than getting Shumlin and Sorell to pay for their stupidity.

  • Douglas Warren

    Here’s an idea. How about actually reducing spending instead of once again looking for new ways to tax Vermont’s.

    • David Dempsey

      Douglas, you should know better. That makes too much sense. Our lawmakers have trouble with that concept.

      • Craig Powers

        When the “unintended consequences” of poorly thought out legislation, and Progressive politics, from the super majority in Montpelier begin to happen…the only chorus we will hear is to “raise taxes”. The fictitious money tree behind the State house is always in bloom! Even in January.

        Look back to the last session when they tried to vote for “tax reform” two days before the session ended. This is proof that the super majority cannot help themselves and really do not think very clearly about the consequences of their votes.

  • Stan Hopson

    Great comments!

  • cathy bergmann

    Now that everybody’s got their ‘I TOLD YOU SO’S IN’, how about some ideas for the future. First, we should be looking at a replacement energy provider. Green energy ideas should be popping up all over the place. Solar fields, windmill farms, low flow hydro, but the biggest thing we might want to consider is a NEW NUCLEAR. Safer, less expensive to run, or perhaps to look at even newer technology down the road in the next decade. I agree that these things should be in the pipeline already. A think tank of engineers, ‘thinkers’, economists, employees of VY, scientists, green energy experts, government officials, ecologists…let’s come up with ways to make energy cheaply, make energy that can be taxed, make new kinds of energy for the future, and look at entirely new paradigms for the future.

    • Kathy Nelson

      Cathy, with all due respect, your comment sounds like either an advertisement for more foreign investors or a failed Fox News soundbite.
      Solar units and grossly destructive industrial wind turbines are mostly made in China. The manufacturing and the mining for rare earths and the processing steps for making solar and IWT units have savagely polluted that country. History will likely record IWTs as the worst energy scam the world has ever seen. Big hydro causes severe flooding of large areas and requires a massive and invasive transmission system. Natural gas comes from fracking which has been accused of causing water well contamination and earthquakes. Nuclear is the best and cleanest producer of electricity but has major flaws in the inability of humans to use it safely and to safely contain it’s hazardous waste. Mini-hydro can be a very good thing but small, community-based energy generation systems do not make big corporations like, GMP, Gaz Metro, Enbridge, Iberdrola, Nordex, First Wind and Emera any big profits.
      Very little effort is made to assist the general populace with conservation, energy efficiency and off-grid encouragement. That’s where efforts could make the world a better place but state and federal government would not exist without corporate control.
      All the think-tankers, scientists and experts will tell you that doing the right thing is rarely profitable, and greed and profit is what it is all about. You can see it very clearly in Mr. Stein’s well-written article.
      You want the world to become a better place, Cathy? Start with your vote at election time, and choose wisely.

      • cathy bergmann

        I don’t know who you are, but the reason all the wind turbines and solar are made in China is because the Republican driven house won’t spend money on their production here. FOX NEWS BITE…please . There are small companies right here in Vermont designing and building solar, but you can’t jump all over the place as your mind seems to. You can’t save the planet or the budget with backyard energy plants you must also engage the larger green energy corporations. Take a look around the globe and see how far behind we are. It is disheartening that a country that once LED the world in innovation and production is now more closely aligned with THIRD WORLD countries in their NEW APPLICATIONS AND FRIGHTENINGLY NEAR THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES IN INFRASTRUCTURE CONDITIONS. We are no longer the strongest, brightest, most forward thinking country and it is the politicians in Washington and their lack of courage and intelligence and leadership that is the cause. You seem to think that every type of energy is a pollutant, you should be down there with them. We do need off grid encouragement and energy efficiency but I think here in Vermont we get that. We need new grid structure more. We ARE IN BIG TROUBLE IN THIS COUNTRY….You don’t seem to be in favor of much of anything…and you seem to scoff at ‘the world being a better place’… need to balance corporate with backyard but you mustn’t become the slave to corporate as so many politicians have. Those are the laws that must change….extremism on either side will not get the job done…

        • Kathy Nelson

          Cathy, you sound very frightened and it was not my intention to make your fear worse. I do not blame Republicans and Democrats for what America has become, I blame us, the people, for letting it happen. I’ve lived in Europe, Cathy, and I have served in the US military. The US is not as bad off or as “far behind” as you seem to think. Where we are losing ground is in the ability and willingness of the people to keep their politicians and government under control.
          There is no energy crisis in this country. There wasn’t one when the renewables scam started. There was no energy crisis in Vermont until Shumlin invented one. Vermont was one of the cleanest states in the use of electricity but that is soon to pass. Wind turbines, biomass burners and new gas plants to back up wind and solar will increase greenhouse gas emissions statewide. Our politicians failed to fund a thermal efficiency bill that would have helped make thousands of VT homes more energy efficient. Vermont bans fracking for gas but has no qualms about shipping it in. The biggest utility in Vermont, GMP, is Canadian owned and buys power from Seabrook nuclear in NH. VT still allows renewable energy credits to be sold to out of state polluters, so the more “renewables” we build here the more we allow others to pollute. Who benefits from all this? Not us, we the people, just the corporate fat cats who we vote to hand our taxpayer monies to.
          Am I an extremist or am I just working to get myself better informed of the realities of the situation. I don’t need my country to be the swaggering, arrogant big boy on the block. None of us needs our young people to die for the sake of some politician’s reputation or a CEO’s big bonus.
          America does not need to be the omnipotent best at everything, it just needs to care for its people well.
          Is my mind all over the place? Indeed I am a multi-tasker. Today you pretty much have to be. Good intentions are just not enough, Cathy, and slamming blame at one political party or another just doesn’t help. How do you intend to help make the world a better place?

          • cathy bergmann

            I am not afraid…I am disappointed and discouraged and disgusted. I have a lot of ways to make America better, but when people such as you keep your head in the sand and just because you’ve been to Europe and been in the military feel you have some kind of validity does not really impress me. I have had family who would often claim the same, but the truth was that combination insulated them from the realities of what was going on in the REAL WORLD! When you say things like ‘there is no energy crisis in this country’ and ‘renewables scam’ it’s hard to communicate with you on a intelligent level. No, there is no energy crisis if you want to continue to burn fossil fuels. I, personally, DO NOT. Renewable scams in the sense that we would have to stop burning, fracking, drilling and searching for fossil fuels then yes I have been a major victim of such SCAMS!
            Perhaps we are just on separate ends of a spectrum and there is little sense in my trying to explain nor convince you of my beliefs and vice versa.

            We can not isolate Vermont, as much as I wish we could as the only geographical entity to be concerned with. We can, however, make it a paradigm of excellence. America is at a point of lowness that does frighten me. It’s not a matter of being omnipotent, that is saved for spiritual beings, it’s a matter of being competitive, creative, adventurous, inventive, and in that process to better the lives of our own people, create jobs, raise the middle class, create educational opportunities for more youth, and hopefully change laws that have driven people down and lowered costs of living and discouraged an entire class of people, frightened an entire group of citizens to believe lies and fear mongering as McCarthyism once did, and to renew pride in a country that can once again be prosperous, a world leader not a world embarrassment as we are now.

    • William Schulze

      To all you people who’re talking about Vermont Yankee employees hanging around the state of Vermont to run solar or wind farms… I suggest that you pull your heads out of your posteriors. Are you NUTZ?! After nearly 34 years of personally having my company and co-workers spit on, get manure thrown at them and be a cash cow/extorted for what ever the club in Montpelier wants that day, I’m taking my talents elsewhere. If people are decrying the lack of tax and charitable contributions from the company/employees, TFS. Watch out for what you ask for. I sure that Scumlin, the Legislature, and Hydro Quebec have a swell plan for Vermonters to keep their utility bills low. Start holding your breath for it now (I’ll be listening for the sounds of heads hittin’ the floor!)

      • Peter Liston

        So long William. Safe travels.

        • Walter Judge

          I can understand William’s anger and frustration. Instead of demonstrating any sympathy whatsoever, you tell him not to let the door hit him on the way out. Your response is perfectly reflective of the hysterical, hostile, shut-it-down-at-all-costs, damn-the-consequences, too-bad-so-sad-for-the-workers, and let-everyone-eat-cake attitude of the anti-VY mob.

          • Peter Liston

            “you tell him not to let the door hit him on the way out.”

            That’s actually not what I said at all. You form a lot of conclusions by making inaccurate assumptions.

    • Don Peterson

      Ideas for the future:

      1.) Own up to your own share of global warming.

      2.) Opt out of a lifestyle based on fossil fuels.

      3.) Turn your back on the idea that politicians are capable of solving all your problems, and solve them yourself.

      4.) Point out to every emperor you meet that he has no clothes on…..

  • Kristin Sohlstrom

    One thing I’d like more answers on is what happened to the $2 million fee VY was paying into the Education Fund up to 2012? I see they didn’t pay it this year but I doubt the Education Fund went without the money. Who is picking up the slack exactly? I’m not looking for “of course taxpayers are” comments, I’m looking for EXACT information.

    For instance, is this part of why our property taxes went up in 2013?

    Andrew Stein, is this something that could also be reported on? Thanks!

  • Elisabeth Hebert

    Has any of you who cries for the lost tax money read what Japan has to pay now to contain the Fukushima catastrophy? Lets first be working on shutting this accident-prone plant safely down, and decommission it with a greenfield. Since we anyway didn’t get any of the energy it produced, we shouldn’t have too big a problem there. First of all learn to use less energy and produce it on a smaller scale is a step that has finally to be taken – it is more than high time for that.
    Maybe that way there is less profit for the big corporations. Good so! This system of the 1% who make all the money and the 99% of us who have less and less is nothing I would miss.

    • Lance Hagen

      The standard (and over used) sound bite from the far left …… all the troubles in the world are caused by the ‘evil empire’ (big corporations) …… this makes life so simple since they have someone to blame.

      • Sandra Bettis

        and who would you blame??

        • Eric Rutz

          I blame the greedy people who go to work for these evil corporations!!! THEY are the enablers of the Empire! People like my neighbors – who look nice but they’re not. They’re EVIL. They awake in the morning and put their feet on the floor with a big “boo ha ha!” (wringing their hands together no doubt) while salivating at the prospect of yet another day manipulating the 99% to fulfill their greedy desires. How fun to rob the poor and steal from our most vulnerable citizens while calling it WORK. They go, clad in black, to IBM, FAHC, GMCR, GE, CVMC,, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Staples, Shaw’s and Hannaford’s…and oh I could go on! We must end their reign, get them out of Vermont and set the example for the rest of the country! Personally, I’m in the 30%. The “driving wheel” 30%. We’re simple people living day-to-day. We work, we pay our taxes, we take care of our kids, family and friends, even strangers, we serve, we volunteer, we try. Heck, I think I just described my evil neighbor the doctor…

      • Peter Liston

        The standard (and over used) sound bite from the far right …… all the troubles in the world are caused by the ‘evil empire’ (big government) …… this makes life so simple since they have someone to blame.

        • Sandra Bettis

          peter, i couldn’t have said it better! thank you!

        • Carl Werth

          Peter apparently only has problems with the hyperbole of the right. He has no problem with the hyperbole of the left.

        • Peter Liston

          Carl, Robert, My comment was in reference to what Lance wrote above. I was demonstrating the point that you’re making: that both left and right have standard soundbites, strawmen and scapegoats.

          Interesting that you took issue with my comment but had nothing to say to Lance’s nearly identical comment.

  • mike dunbar

    In 1 year, 2 major employers in Vermont have shed a significant number of jobs. IBM lost 420 people, and now VY is losing 650. These were HIGH PAYING jobs that will not come back. Assuming an average of $80K salary, the lost salary total is 85 Million!! Expect your taxes to increase even more to make up for this shortfall, because Montpelier will not reduce spending.

    • Kristin Sohlstrom

      Not all VY employees lived in VT or were from VT. This affected 3 different states and is the epitome of what selfish looks like. At the end of the day, nothing changes in the world of nuclear energy in our area because there are evermore nuclear power plants in the same vicinity. What a farse all of this has turned into, huh?

      On top of that, people are CELEBRATING that an entire professional industry has been wiped out of VT. What a weird state of mind people have these days. And dangerous.

      • Sandra Bettis

        you might want to read or watch ‘the voices of chernobyl’ before you think that closing vt yankee is not a cause for celebration.

        • Carl Werth

          What’s really to celebrate, Sandra? Besides a seemingly hollow victory, I mean.The entire building (including ithe reactor itself) will be there for a long time to come (they call it SAFESTOR – ha!) and so will the fuel rods. On top of that – it willl ALL still be owned by an untrustworthy corporation known as Enetrgy for years and years and years to come. It seems like not much has changed – and we will still be living alongside the radioactive danger of the spent fuel rods which will remain at the site virtually forever. Meanwhile Seabrook in New Hampshire and Patriot down in lMassachusetts continue to operate. Whoopie! Let’s celebrate!

          • Sandra Bettis

            i agree there is much work to do – but we need to celebrate when we can – there is not a lot to celebrate in the world right now.

          • Carl Werth

            I don’t mean to be a party pooper, Sandra. You are right that we need to celebrate when we can. However, I just think it is important that everyone is aware that even though VY is closing – not much really changes when you get down to it, unfortunately.

    • Sandra Bettis

      don’t forget the state employees.

  • Jim Mulligan

    Does anyone ever look at the State’s P&L & Balance Sheet [on & off] in terms of attaining the elevated levels of accomplishments with which we are so repeatedly inundated?
    Accordingly, may I move to the pragmatic side of the ledger having politically despaired long ago.

    Considering Vermont’s decades of legislative, regulatory, legal and other machinations dedicated to bringing to pass what the market place has now dictated – a question comes to mind.

    Reflecting on the aged time-line, the dedication and the expenditure of millions, it strikes at one, untoward conclusion aside, that obviously somewhere in the archives or wherever items of this nature gather dust awaiting their successors there must be a number of detailed economic impact studies outlining the municipal, county and state fiscal ramifications.

    If someone could direct me toward the source material, I would be most appreciative.

  • Wayne Andrews

    There seems to be an attitude in Vermont in the last 25 years they the people keep going back to the same individuals that cause the problems. If you had a lousy roofer install a shingled roof on your house and it leaked constantly do you go back to the same roofer for advice on how to repair? No, but yet we keep electing these liberals in office that cause this state harm solely due to their personal wants and perception of a pure life style.
    Voters, change the way you cast your ballot or this is going to get a lot worst when the remaining companies have to start covering workers 30 hr+ for health care.

    • Sandra Bettis

      and what do the ones who work less than 30 hrs do for health care?

  • David Dempsey

    I haven’t taken a side on the VY issue. I feel that there are a lot of pros and cons whether it was shut down or stayed in operation. But one thing that has been mentioned often as a reason to close the plant is the fact that none of the power produced is used in Vermont. Why not? Most likely it is because Vermont power companies contract with power providers, sometimes for several years. Each of these providers supply some percentage of utilities annual need. If they need more, they buy it from the New England grid. What business in their right mind would would sign a contract with VY when it is in a dogfight with the state just to stay open. So VY had to sell their power to the New England grid. The power the grid buys comes from many different kinds of power generation. So, technically, some of the power Vermont utilities buy from the grid actually came from VY.

  • Anne Beagle

    Well, it appears Vermont’s goal is taxing its entire tax base right out Vermont. Let the exodus continue.

  • Elisabeth Hebert

    All the discussion is about money, money, money. The closing of VY is cause for celebration because it is a 40 year old plant that already had so many failures, leaks, and accidents, the company lied about, that a big accident like Fukushima , is waiting to happen, at least a big risk. Is money these days more important than our lives and our health?
    Has everybody forgotten that there is no way to get rid of the highly poisonous waste, that is produced by these plants? Highly poisonous for tens of thousands of years?
    Money seems to be eating brain…..

  • Willem:

    It’s breathtaking that the figures you provide are totally ignored by the renewable energy/anti-nuclear forces in Montpelier. You would think that someone in the administration or legislature would have the duty, if not at least intellectual curiosity, to look into what you are saying. They apparently don’t, showing the hazards of being driven by ideology vs facts. On the other hand, these same people are at a total loss as proved by their inability to rebut what you objectively demonstrate.

    It’s important that you continue to put forward the facts.

  • Catherine Davlantes

    It has been asked in the past. “Would the last person to leave please turn off the lights.”

  • Don Peterson

    GAF Rubberoid left behind a waste pile of asbestos tailings the size of Stonehenge and sold it to a local corporation with no assets to clean it up; Entergy will do the same thing with VY now that the last bit of marrow is sucked out of its carcass.

    The difference is that VY will abide on the landscape as a radioactive footprint for 25,000 years. The Great Pyramids will be nothing but a pile of gravel by that time.

    Against that, a short term lack of tax funds (that seem to mysteriously migrate up the financial food chain) seems like a pretty puny complaint. We live in the richest quadrant of the richest country in the world, in the history of the world. We can do better than VY I’m sure.

  • John Greenberg, your comment citing “Deadeye Douglas” and Vermont Yankee (VY) closing, further reinforces the point about Governor Shumlin’s “Ready, Fire, Aim” management style and failure to do his homework.

    As you undoubtedly know, no one can change history. A person can only learn from it. So your historical supposition that Gov. Douglas had no plan to deal with the aftermath of a VY closing clearly demonstrates that Gov. Shumlin learned nothing from history in this case, as he has presented no plan. This is not surprising given an individual with a proven pattern of failing to do his homework before acting.

    As you admit, you missed the Douglas plan. I’ll admit that if Governor Douglas had a history, a pattern or a propensity not to do his homework, I would speak out as I would with any politician regardless of party. But, the fact is that Gov. Douglas does not have such a record. Although, like all of us, he wasn’t perfect, he was a careful chief executive with a record of prudent behavior and therein is the big difference that you also seemed to have missed.

    • Bob Stannard

      Yes, but Mr. Yankowski, does it not stand to reason that if Gov. Douglas even suspected that there might be a chance that the plant could close in March of 2012 that he perhaps should have spent some time during his eight years leading up to that date to at least address this possibility and prepare for it?

      When Gov. Shumlin took office I believe that this was the first time any significant dialog as to how to address the plant’s closing occurred. Now, you can perhaps find fault in whether or not work has happened quickly enough, but at least it’s happening. It’s somewhat analogous to blaming Pres. Obama for the failed economy that was created by Pres. Bush.

  • Pete Novick

    “The only thing worse than not getting your heart’s content, is getting it.”

    – Oscar Wilde

  • Bob it was John Greenberg that elected to drag Gov. Douglas into the debate, which was probably done more to get my goat as opposed to adding anything constructive to justifying Gov. Shumlin’s failure to plan for the consequences of Vermont Yankee’s (VY) closing. Then you, as John’s dutiful “tag-team” partner, jumped in to again defend Gov. Shumlin’s lack of planning that would most likely be graded as an “F” in any freshman management course.

    So based on John’s introduction of a red herring, you start with a faulty premise in going back to Gov. Douglas’ time, when the howling over the closing of Vermont Yankee (VY) was coming exclusively from the anti-nuclear advocates who’s concern was safety. The issue was not levels of competition in the power market that ultimately tipped VY over.

    As you well understand, an effective executive does his homework first by considering all pertinent factors before deciding what, if any action is needed. Based on facts available during Gov. Douglas’ time, no need for action was necessary. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission didn’t share the anti-nuclear movement’s safety concerns. Even more troubling for you should be the fact that at the beginning of his administration, President Obama advocated the expansion of nuclear power, not the closing of plants.

    Anti-nuclear activists base their plant closing argument on the occurrence of a “black swan” event. Real life executives, who have to consider the best use of limited resources, must base their decision making on events that some reasonable probability of happening, not “black swans”.

    • Bob Stannard

      Mr Yankowski, your response is a bit of revisionist history. The plant was scheduled to close in 2012. There was no guarantee that the NRC was going to extend the license of the plant during the Douglas’ Administration. There was also no guarantee that the PSB was going to grant a Certificate of Public Good to allow the plant to continue to operate.

      Since this was the reality then the prudent thing for Gov. Douglas to have done would have been to at least prepare for the possibility that the plant might close. Instead, the adminstration did nothing.

      It’s not a “red herring” as you describe it. You chastise Gov. Shumlin for lack of planning, which is fine. You can do that, but the facts remain that no one prepared for the plant’s closing. The planning process, like all planning processes, should have begun long ago. To say that there was no need for the Douglas Administration to do any planning I would argue is not accurate.

  • Bob, back in Gov. Douglas’ days, I don’t recall anything indicating that Entergy intended to close the plant. As a matter of fact just about everything they were doing pointed toward continued operation.

    So, if as you say that Gov. Douglas did nothing when he should have been planning, brings us back to my originate point, Gov. Shumlin learned nothing from history.

    • Bob Stannard

      Peter, you’re right. Entergy never intended to close the plant. But the plant WAS scheduled to close on March 21, 2012. That’s when their license ran out and that’s when the CPG ran out. There was no guarantee that the NRC was going to extend the license. There was no guarantee that the PSB was going to grant a CPG. It was not Entergy’s call whether or not the plant continue to operate. It was the NRC’s and Vermont’s. Entergy bought the plant with the understanding that it was to close in 10 years. There was no commitment and/or guarantee that the plant would go on longer. The only reason for it to continue was so Entergy could make more money. Once it became a loser they closed it.

      Will all of the ambiguities one would have thought that perhaps a prudent course of action for Gov. Douglas to take might have been to prepare for what, at the time, seemed like the inevitable; that the plant could very well close in 2012….as scheduled…as promised.

  • Bob, you win. You have totally worn me out.

    Now you can turn your energy and lobbying skills to what’s really important, convincing Gov. Shumlin that he needs to do his homework before acting.

    • Bob Stannard

      Well, it’s not about winning, Peter. It’s more about trying to set the record straight and get the facts out. It’s a fact that the plant was designed and permitted for 40 years. It’s a fact that when Entergy bought the plant in ’02 that there was no guarantee it would operate beyond 2012. Those two facts should have been enough for any governor, even one who was supportive of the plant’s continued operation, to at least plan for the possibility that it might close as scheduled.

      Instead, Gov. Douglas opted to go the Calvin Coolidge route: If you don’t do anything you won’t do anything wrong. We’re paying for that inaction now, but if Gov. Shumlin handles this the way he tackles other problems, like Irene, for instance, we should have no doubt that he’ll do his best to make up for lost time and opportunities.

    • Bob Stannard

      Peter, I don’t think going to the truth qualifies as being a “diversion”. You were chastising Gov. Shumlin for his lack of planning on the closure of VY, which may or may not be justified.

      You opted to ignore the fact that former Gov. Douglas should have also been preparing for the closure of the plant as we’ve duly noted.

      It’s only fair that if you going to take the current governor to task that some responsibility for the lack of planning for the plant’s closure lies at Gov. Douglas’s feet.

      This has everything to do with a previous governor’s lack of interest in dealing with a plan for the plant’s closure and I understand why. Gov. Douglas was a fan of Entergy. He wanted the plant to stay open in perpetuity that way he wouldn’t have to address the shift from renewables. Doing nothing fit his agenda of keeping the plant open; notwithstanding the fact that by all accounts the plant was scheduled to close on March 21, 2012.

      Sorry this truth doesn’t mesh with your version of reality, but that’s just the way it was. Had Gov. Douglas done his job and begun the planning process for closure then he’d be admitting that the plant might actually close. Politically he couldn’t do that.

      The sad part of all this is that he was very, very loyal to Entergy and what did he get for his loyalty? A slimy deal known as Enexus and Entergy’s executives lying before the PSB. Entergy hung Gov. Douglas out to dry; to the extent that finally even his Commissioner of DPS, David O’Brian, had to come out and say that Entergy was (almost) losing his support.

      Everyone in the building could see the tough spot that Entergy put its supporters, including the governor and his administration, in. It was probably enough to make Gov. Douglas wish, deep inside his heart, that he had taken the initiative to begin the planning process for the plant’s closure.

  • Bob,
    “The only reason for it to continue was so Entergy could make more money. Once it became a loser they closed it.”

    Vermont’s government should do the same with the SPEED program and Lowell-type wind turbine plants on ridge lines, instead of wastefully letting fester along.

    Both of them produce energy at about 3-4 times grid prices, and that can also not go on. The sooner Montpelier’s political leaders realize it, the better.

    Further such production of expensive, variable, intermittent, grid-destabilizing energy, i.e., junk energy, will excessively burden Vermont’s low-growth/no-growth economy, which will be harmful to job growth, wage growth, business revenues, business profits, living standards and tax revenues, PLUS have adverse environmental, property value, health and quality of life impacts on nearby people within about 2 miles of the turbines.

    Here are the SPEED numbers from the DPS website and the Lowell numbers from the FERC website:

    Vermont’s RE SPEED program is even worse, cost-wise, than Lowell, based on production numbers on the DPS website.

    2010, last six months: 13.87 c/kWh.
    2011: 16.44 cents/kWh.
    2012: 17.16 cents/kWh.
    2013, first five months: 18.53 cents/kWh.

    Note the RISING cost/kWh. Various RE promoters have been saying RE costs/kWh would be DECLINING; are they just making it up to befuddle lay people?

    For the 2010 – 2017 period, a cumulative $131,220,058 excess above grid prices will have been rolled into electric rates of already-struggling households and businesses.

    GMP, purposely disregarding the advice of its own power system engineers, and disregarding the 5-yr nearby Maine ridge line Cfs of about 0.25, and disregarding the New York State multi-year average CFs of about 0.235, claimed (lied?) in documents filed with the PSB:

    GMP CF claim: Standard rotor (90 m dia) = 63 x 8760 x 0.2842 = 156,844 MWh/yr
    GMP and DPS SPEED website claims = 63 x 8760 x 0.338 = 186,570 MWh/yr 
    GMP CF claim: Large rotor (117 m dia) = 63 x 8760 x 0.3587 = 197,959 MWh/yr 

    NOTE: In the REAL world, these GMP claims turned out not worth the paper they were written on, but the PSB, in GW fighting mode, found no fault with them. Protecting the interests of the public? Sure.

    NOTE: Lowell’s CF for the first 6 months of 2013 was 0.189, with more fiasco numbers to follow for years.

    This means the COST of wind energy is not a tolerable 10 c/kWh, per GMP Lowell spreadsheets, but closer to a hardship 15-20 c/kWh.

  • Don Peterson

    Peter and Bob: Here you have the whole climate change scenario laid out in front of you: all the warnings and deadlines in the world wont make political operatives act if
    a.) actions cost money
    b.) the consequences of inaction come later.

    Closing VY was an inevitability that Peter Shumlin pretended he invented. It cost him nothing to support closure since it was sure to come someday.

    As far as global warming is concerned: most people I talk to think there is a magic bullet that will negate climate change, so why change behavior now? Actions cost money, and the consequences are as far away as deniers can put them.

    • Sandra Bettis

      ‘a magic bullet’?? i haven’t heard that one! could you be more specific?

      • Don Peterson

        ITs just over the horizon next to the carburetor that Detroit took off the market because it saved too much gas….

        • Sandra Bettis

          oh, i see – good to know that help is arriving.

  • John Greenberg

    A little perspective here.

    Peter Yankowski seems to think that he can let Jim Douglas off the hook because Entergy didn’t announce that it was planning to close Vermont Yankee until recently.
    Vermont Yankee’s license was due to expire first in 2007 and then, by NRC’s magical extension process, in 2012. Although Entergy applied for relicensing during the Douglas administration, the NRC didn’t grant the new license until Peter Shumlin was governor. Moreover, in the absence of beneficial contacts, Jim Douglas’s DPS OPPOSED granting a CPG for continued operations (see final briefs in Docket 7440), which, had their position been heeded by the Board, meant that the plant would have closed in 2012 regardless of the NRC licensing process.

    In addition to all this, TEPCO didn’t announce they were planning to close Fukushima Daiichi’s 6 plants either. Stuff happens. Call it a “black swan” if you wish, but those who follow this issue carefully have been predicting these events certainly since the 1970s, probably before.

    2) It’s not clear, in any case, exactly what planning Peter thinks the State of Vermont can do which would ease the inevitable transition which EVERYONE knew would occur some day: hundreds of jobs would be lost, state and local taxes would decline, etc. The problem is that there isn’t much planning one can do for a circumstance whose date is entirely unknown.

    3) Since no one seems to be mentioning it, it’s worth pointing out that DPS did a study in the 1980s of the implications of shutting the plant down. It’s been a long time, but I believe the study was asked for by the legislature. My guess is that it was done during the Kunin administration, though it may even have preceded her.

    All that said, Peter is essentially correct when he says that I was basically trying to get his goat. But I did so with a point in mind: there’s no rationale basis for constantly harping on Shumlin’s supposed management style while simultaneously letting Jim Douglas off the hook for PRECISELY the same things. As to Peter’s argument that Shumlin should have learned from Douglas’s errors, well then Douglas should have learned from Kunin’s wisdom and Dean’s errors. Peter refuses to admit the obvious: his judgment is entirely based on politics.

  • Here’s my list:

    Sandra: Don’t give up on finding the magic bullet. We now have in front of us, nothing less than “green burials” as the latest piece of ammo in the war against global warming.

    Don: True actions take money, which is a dear commodity that must be used prudently. If actions are to be taken to tackle the global warming problem, lets make sure those actions really contribute to solutions. Taking expensive feel good actions that do nothing, gets us no where.

    Willem; Keep pumping out the truth about the effectiveness of the various energy sources and contributions to air quality improvement.

    Bob: How are things going in getting Gov. Shumlin to do his homework?

  • John: I don’t mind you trying to get my goat, but your usual tactic of changing the subject to cause a diversion when you start to feel the heat just won’t work any more. The issue here is not Jim Douglas or my interest in defending him or not. As a matter of fact, here’s what I said to you in a Vtdigger post on 9/6 following your introduction of Jim Douglas into this matter as “Deadeye Douglas”:

    “I’ll admit that if Governor Douglas had a history, a pattern or a propensity not to do his homework, I would speak out as I would with any politician regardless of party. But, the fact is that Gov. Douglas does not have such a record. Although, like all of us, he wasn’t perfect, he was a careful chief executive with a record of prudent behavior and therein is the big difference that you also seemed to have missed.”

    That is what I said, what I meant, what I believe and what I would do. People who know me would agree. So lets put this diversion behind us.

    Moving away from the diversionary tactics to your comment asking what the State could do to ease transition. In my comments posted on the Vtdigger on March 26, 2013 regarding Gov. Shumlin’s handling of the Vermont Yankee (VY) closing, I said that the Governor could have worked to negotiating some sort of controlled glide landing for the closing of VY, which would have allowed some reasonable period to wind down, instead of a crash landing.

    By working in a cooperative manner as opposed to an adversarial manner, it may have been possible for the Governor to negotiate a “Decon” closing vs a “Safestor” closing of VY. This would have resulted in a less immediate and severe economic stress on the Windham County area and a faster cleanup of the plant.

    This opportunity or some other less harmful alternative to the State and more to the liking of the anti-nuclear activists was lost because the Gov. Shumlin failed to do his homework to understand the consequences of his actions and possible other alternatives that could have been negotiated with Entergy.

    Pressing to close VY is a complex matter akin to a chess match where careful thought has to be given to several moves ahead. It seems that Gov. Shumlin’s thinking process began and ended with the plant closing. With the olive branch the Governor has now extended, maybe something can be salvaged from the potential economic wreckage that is ahead.

    As you can see, none of this has anything to do with Gov. Douglas or my willingness to defend or criticize him. It has to do managing the state today for a better tomorrow, which requires doing your homework before acting.

  • Bob, Mr. Shumlin has been Governor for nearly three years and before that he was the top man in the Senate. At what point does he own the problems this state is facing. Your comments sound something like what one would expect to hear from President Obama. It’s Bush’s fault or it wasn’t me that drew the red line.

    Regardless of what Bush or Douglas did in the past, blaming them today, does nothing to solve the problems tomorrow and it’s not what they were elected for or what the people expect.

    Time for the Governor to take ownership because the state’s problems are not going away without demonstrated thoughtful leadership.

    • Bob Stannard

      You’re right, Peter. The situation re: VY is now Shumlin’s to own; just like the economy is now Obama’s to own. However, try as you may you cannot discount the events of the recent past of both situations and pretend that they never existed.

      I understand why the Rush Limbaughs of the world would like to pretend that Pres. Bush didn’t ruin the global economy, and why folks like yourself would like to pretend that Gov. Douglas had no responsibility for planning for the closure of VY, but that’s not how it works.

      There is what some folks would like to believe is the reality and then there’s the reality. Oftentimes they’re much different. I guess this is one of those times.

      Obama was handed an economy that was sailing off the cliff. It was years in the making. Everyone expected decades of irresponsibility to be solved in a few years. Obama might have been slightly more successful had the Tea Party Republicans cared a little more about resolving our economic crisis than focusing on the manufactured debt crisis. Before you blow a gasket, let me remind you that it was VP Dick Cheney who said deficits were not a problem. He must’ve been right, because they never seemed to bother that other great American, Ronald Reagan.

      Yes, Gov. Shumlin has been governor for three years. I believe that his administration has already been reaching out to the Regional Planning Commission to work to come up with a plan. Frankly, I’m not sure how much can be done.

      If Entergy would decommission the plant now vs. waiting 60 years they would be employing people for many years; maybe decades, which would soften the economic blow.

      But don’t kid yourself. If Entergy must choose between its employees and its stockholders I think we both know who’s going to get the attention.

      In closing I think it’s safe to say that a corporation that has sued, and re-sued the State is not one that we can expect much cooperation from.

  • John Greenberg


    1) I’ll believe you’re a critic of Douglas, or of any Republican, when I see it. I DID read your comment, and I noted the conditionals: “If Governor Douglas had a history
    … I would speak out….” Can you cite examples for us where you DID speak out??

    Did Douglas prepare for Obamacare? That’s another of your “bad management” complaints about Shumlin, but Obamacare was passed while Douglas was governor? The exchanges have been on the books since early 2010. Planning for Vermont’s electricity future? Douglas never bothered. Vermont’s mental health facilities? Out of compliance throughout the Douglas term.

    One could easily go on. Douglas: Ready? Who me? Aim? At what?” Fire: Why? Two can play this incredibly stupid game of yours.

    2) As to your glide down scenario, it’s clear to anybody who actually participated in any of this that you haven’t got a clue about the issues involved.

    Until quite recently, all publicly available information suggests that Entergy thought that it could and therefore would run the plant for another 20 years profitably. Specifically, they grossly misjudged the New England wholesale electric market (thinking prices would be MUCH higher than they are and are now expected to be) and a consequence, they misgauged the desirability of the contracts they were offering as well as their ability to exist as a business without them. But that being the case, there is NO reason to assume that they had ANY willingness to negotiate anything with anyone.

    This is a straightforward business proposition. Do you really think that they would negotiate giving up millions of dollars in what they thought would be expected profits, AND adding roughly ½ a billion dollars to their decommissioning fund (which is the difference between DECON and SAFSTOR)? Roughly, you could easily be suggesting that they would have given up $1 billion in profits (NOT revenues). For what, exactly??

    On the other side of the equation, this is an issue which, in case you haven’t noticed, has drawn passionate advocacy from Vermonters: whatever else you can say about the issue, Vermonters CARE about this one. Peter Shumlin campaigned on shutting the plant down, based not, as some say, on his whole political record (he was for VY before he was against it), but on his early 2010 performance as majority leader. What you’re suggesting is that, once elected, Shumlin should have turned his back on his supporters, told them he didn’t REALLY mean it, and cut some kind of back room deal as governor.

    Your “glide down” proposal WAS seriously considered when Douglas was governor, when everyone – including presumably Entergy – believed that the Vermont legislature’s vote would be meaningful, but even then it was never really an available strategy. It was never clear that the state COULD implement such a strategy under NRC rules.

    In the timeframe you’re talking about, however, this is pure pie-in-the-sky fantasy.

  • Bob, as far as your comment about Bush ruining the global economy, remember this:

    The 2008 economic melt down occurred because of bank greed, abuse of mortgage derivative products, proprietary trading by banks and the Community Investment Act.

    At the urging of Sandy Weill, Chairman of Citigroup, President Clinton directed/worked with Robert Rubin and Larry Summers to affect the repeal of Glass-Steagal by promoting the passage of Gram-Leach-Bliley in 1999. At the time, President Clinton stated that the Glass-Steagal law was no longer appropriate. With this, the floodgates to abuse were opened.

    Around the same time in the late 1990s, President Clinton’s Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, Deputy Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Fed Chairman Allan Greenspan blocked Brooksley Born, Chair of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission from gaining regulatory oversight of off- exchange market derivatives. Another mistake by the Clinton Administration, which kept the floodgates of bank abuse open by killing needed regulation.

    And finally, the Community Investment Act heavily pushed by Democrats provided the extra grease needed to lend to unqualified borrowers.

    Oh, not to forget that following his stint as Clinton’s Treasury Secretary, Bob Rubin moved on to Citicorp as a top executive paid millions each year from the faux earnings arising from mortgage derivatives. A case of revolving doors, something not foreign to the Shumlin Administration.

    Bob, you may want to research the background history of what set the stage for the 2008 meltdown. Without the deregulation championed by Bill Clinton, it’s questionable if there would have even been a meltdown in 2008.

    Looks like lots of Democrat fingerprints on the melt down you blame on Bush.

    Coming back to Vermont, you said:

    “But don’t kid yourself. If Entergy must choose between its employees and its stockholders I think we both know who’s going to get the attention.”

    I hardly kid myself when it comes to Entergy. Here’s what I said could be expected from Entergy in my 3/26/13 VTDigger post:

    “Here’s a scenario that the Commissioner and others in Vermont government could be facing. The vtdigger states the Governor has suggested that Vermont Yankee may close due to economic pressures. If this proves to be true, in addition to losing tax revenue, hundreds of good paying jobs and suffering other economic dislocations, the state will likely face a long and difficult battle with Entergy’s Louisiana management while going through the plant closing process.

    I assume that there are plenty of laws and regulations that set forth what an owner must do to close and secure a nuclear plant once it stops operating. If Entergy does elect to close VY for economic reasons, or if it ultimately loses in court, my guess is that they will drag their feet and do everything possible to frustrate Vermont officials all while staying within arguable compliance with applicable laws and regulations, as they see them.

    It will be cheaper to litigate each and every dispute with the state as opposed to rapidly pouring untold millions of dollars into the plant closure. Entergy with its team of heavy weight lawyers have the wherewithal and the will to drag Vermont through the courts with expensive litigation costing the state incredible legal fees and other resources.

    No rational business wants to operate where it is not wanted and where it cannot make a fair return on investment. That being the case, Gov. Shumlin, instead of negotiating a controlled glide landing for the closing of VY, which would have allowed some reasonable period to wind down, has instead forced a potential crash landing. A crash landing being a cold turkey shut down of the plant resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in loses for Entergy.”

    Bob, don’t be mistaken, I understand the difficulty that working with Entergy represents. On the other hand, Gov. Shumlin doesn’t get off the hook by wringing his hands and saying these are bad people and its all Jim Douglas’ fault.

    • Bob Stannard

      It’s interesting how when it comes to planning for VY’s closing all that responsibility falls to the current governor, Mr. Shumlin. You say that it’s been up to him to do all the planning in anticipation of VY’s closing and that Gov. Douglas had little if any role to play.

      However, when we’re talking about the global meltdown it flips. The problems began under former Pres. Clinton. The fact that Pres. Bush was in office 8 years and apparently sat there stone silent and did nothing while the greedy bankers ran amuck doesn’t count.

      I think I understand your point of view, but I don’t agree with it.

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