Anti-nuke activist turned hydropower developer John Warshow was admired by friends and foes

John Warshow

John Warshow in a photo that his son David Warshow said expresses his father’s personality well. Photo courtesy Warshow family

John Warshow, an anti-nuclear activist and renewable energy pioneer, died last week.

Warshow, 59, and his business partner Mathew Rubin, became the first independent hydropower producers in Vermont. Their lifelong friendship was forged during an anti-nuclear protest: In 1978, they were arrested for chaining themselves to a fence outside the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant.

A memorial service for John Warshow will be held 10 a.m. Sunday, July 19, at Marshfield’s Old Schoolhouse Common.

In the 1980s, Warshow and Rubin channeled their anti-nuclear activism into the development of alternative energy. They bought several defunct dams and, using a new federal law, sought to sell power from the dams to local utilities. One of the utilities, Green Mountain Power, fought the scheme for a dam in East Montpelier, and sued over Warshow and Rubin’s biggest scheme: The development of a large hydro dam on the Winooski River in Winooski. The litigation over the dam and over rates for the resulting hydropower went on for years. Eventually, they defeated the utility company in court.

Warshow was, as one friend put it, a “quintessential Vermonter” of the hippie era. He came to Vermont from Long Island in 1976 to attend Goddard College, which was a hotbed of liberal activism, and soon after became involved with his professor, Scott Nielsen, in the anti-nuclear movement. (He later married Nielsen’s daughter, Jenny, and they made Marshfield their home.)

In one memorable protest, Warshow, Rubin and about 150 demonstrators at Vermont Yankee chained themselves to the fence around the plant. Rubin recalls that the Vermont State Police used bolt cutters to release the protesters and then carted them off to the Brattleboro Armory.

The protesters waited for hours. By evening, they had no food, no blankets, no Band-Aids for the scratches they’d gotten in the fray of the protest, and so Warshow went over to the trooper in charge and asked to use the telephone. His one call was to Jerry Diamond, the Vermont attorney general.

“He said, ‘hey you’re in charge of the state police, therefore we’re your responsibility,’” Rubin said. “He read him the riot act, and Diamond was so stunned he called the state police, and they brought him down to Brattleboro, driving 90 miles an hour.”

The protesters were charged with trespassing, and Warshow sued the state over the right to demonstrate. He argued the case pro se (he represented himself), and when the case went before the Vermont Supreme Court, he won.

Warshow didn’t have a law degree. In fact, he didn’t graduate from Goddard College, but he became an astute student of the law and became very knowledgeable about federal and state utility statutes.

His keen intellect and legal savvy came in handy when he and Rubin decided to develop hydropower in the 1980s.

Marty Miller, an attorney who worked for Warshow and Rubin, said Warshow saw that nuclear power “wasn’t the way to go and he couldn’t just say no; he had to have an alternative.”

Old dams, new energy

That alternative energy source was hydro. Warshow and Rubin explored whether they could develop abandoned 19th century dams under a new federal law, the Public Utility Regulatory Power Act, which was enacted in 1978 and paved the way for independent companies to sell electricity to utilities. Today, 7 percent of the nation’s power comes from independent power producers, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Warshow and Rubin started with the old Wrightsville Dam in Montpelier. They obtained a federal license and permits for the property and then sold the project to the Washington Electric Co-op. Then they acquired abandoned dam sites in East Montpelier, Springfield and Winooski.

The East Montpelier dam had been owned by Green Mountain Power, but the utility let the federal license lapse and Warshow and Rubin swooped in to buy it. The duo obtained the land for the dam through an eminent domain proceeding. GMP officials were stunned.

When the pair tried to develop the Winooski dam, they became enmeshed in a seven-year legal battle with Green Mountain Power, the city of Burlington, the city of Winooski and the owner of the Chace Cotton Mill.

Burlington wanted to develop a dam on the river falls and spent $4 million on environmental studies. Under federal law, municipalities get first dibs for hydro licenses. The trouble was, the city was backed by a private enterprise — Green Mountain Power — and that put Warshow and Rubin on equal footing. Their proposal cost half as much and produced two-thirds of the power Burlington hoped to produce. Eventually, Warshow and Rubin won.

“John was a fighter, but without anger,” Rubin said. “In a business partnership that lasted 34 years, I never saw him lose his temper.”

They then went to war with Green Mountain Power over power rates. The utility didn’t want to pay rates allowable under federal law, which were in the 10 cents per kilowatt range at a time when nuclear power was selling for 4 cents per kilowatt. Warshow argued, again pro se, that the utility didn’t have a choice.

Miller said utilities have a state-granted monopoly for their service territories, and this was the first time an independent company was generating relatively large scale power.

“[John] led the fight at the PSB to obtain payments that were sufficient to actually build and run one of these plants, which was key to getting this whole industry going,” Miller said.

Warshow and Rubin bought GMP and Central Vermont Public Service shares (for themselves and their friends) and a group of 10 or so of the activists began showing up at the annual meetings. They gave utility executives a hard time about investments in the Seabrook nuclear plant in New Hampshire. (Warshow, who was a member of the anti-nuclear Clamshell Alliance, spent 30 days in jail for a protest at Seabrook.)

Steve Terry, who was an executive with GMP, describes Warshow as “a tough opponent.” Terry doesn’t recall that the utility ever won a rate case against Warshow.

“They were scrappers, they were challenging GMP in rate cases,” Terry said. “They really knew how to make use of the media and they did. Their strategy always was news by embarrassment.”

As stockholders, they had access to private company information that they were more than happy to share with reporters. They turned the media onto information about executive pay and expense accounts, for example.

Eventually, GMP negotiated a confidential agreement with Warshow and Rubin, and the pair agreed to not set foot on the utility’s property, not to interfere with rate cases and not to own stock in the company.

The rise of renewables

Terry said Warshow and Rubin were outliers, but he gives them credit for creating a visionary approach to renewable energy in Vermont that eventually became mainstream. The state of Vermont has adopted aggressive renewable energy goals, and GMP is now a national utility leader in the field.

“In order to do what we did, we had to create an industry,” Rubin said. “There were no independent power producers. They didn’t exist.”

Rubin and Warshow not only figured out how to go through the federal licensing process, they also had to work with the state to develop rates, contracts and regulations.

“Needless to say, back then the utilities had a monopoly, and they didn’t want anybody else playing in the sandbox,” Rubin said.

Renewable energy pioneer John Warshow died June 28, 2015. Courtesy photo

Renewable energy pioneer John Warshow died June 28, 2015. Courtesy photo

Warshow was fearless, Rubin said, because he had a strong sense of what he believed in. He also had no ego.

“The question was never whose idea it was, but the result,” Rubin said. “With someone like that, with intelligence and integrity, you can accomplish a lot and we did.”

In September, Rubin, Warshow and the Winooski One partnership sold the dam to the Burlington Electric Department and the city of Burlington for $12 million.

Warshow didn’t have much time to enjoy the proceeds of his once risky investment. He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer formed by malignant plasma cells, less than two weeks before he died on June 28 of cardiac arrest, following kidney failure.

Warshow is survived by his wife, Jenny; his sons, David and Ethan; his father Alan, of Manhasset, New York; his sisters, Leslie, of Salt Lake City, and Susan, of Port Washington, New York; his nieces, Hannah and Julia, of Upton, Massachusetts, and his nephew, Jason, of Salt Lake City, who called John “Uncle Maple.”

Contributions in John’s memory may be made to the John L. Warshow Memorial Fund being created to support the development and maintenance of recreational, educational, and historical opportunities in Marshfield such as the Stranahan Memorial Town Forest that John helped create.

Memorial fund donations should be payable to the John L. Warshow Memorial Fund and sent to C/O Rich Phillips, 1119 Hollister Hill Road, Plainfield, VT 05667.

Editor’s note: Steve Terry and Mathew Rubin are members of the Vermont Journalism Trust, the nonprofit organization of which VTDigger is a part.

Anne Galloway

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  • John Beling

    I am saddened to see this. My condolences to John’s family and friends.

  • Rich Lachapelle

    The man was a pioneer in Vermont in promoting renewable energy, even before it was trendy. He did however face vehement, organized protest when pushing to build the Winooski One hydro project which has been a huge success. It has since been purchased by Burlington Electric and contributes to it’s 100% renewable portfolio. He did not cave and cower when the protesters erected posters asking: “do you want the Winooski River to go through a hole this big?”.

  • Fred Woogmaster

    “Who is it that says most, which can say more,
    Than this rich praise, that you alone, are you…” Shakespeare

    A life of merit – without question.

  • Patrick Zachary

    John was a great guy. He was always willing to talk about his projects. I fondly remember walking the Winooski One dam with him during construction and stopping at spray paint circle around what was clearly a weed – he commented that this particular weed held the project up for a long time ( years). He was quiet, objective and determined. Well lived.

  • Bob Stannard

    It was an honor to have known John and to work with him on the closing of Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. He was a quiet man; an understated man, but you’d be ill-advised to underestimate him.

    I never did have an opportunity to ask him his thoughts on those who oppose renewable energy; much as he opposed nuclear energy. It would have been nice to have been able to hear his perspective.

  • Charles Merriman

    John was a wonderful man. Like Matt Rubin said, smart as a whip, too, and a piercing intellect. Those who were lucky enough to have known him will miss him greatly. My sincerest warm wishes to his family.

  • John Greenberg

    John Baker and Peter Yankowski are trying to sow confusion here about the difference between a lot of folks – including Bob Stannard, John Warshow, and me – “working to close” Vermont Yankee, on the one hand, and the actual decision to close it, on the other.

    There were thousands of us who over a period of decades tried in any number of ways to close the plant. When the issue became one of extending the plant’s life beyond 2012, rather than operating it for its full licensed lifetime, Peter Shumlin joined us. Prior to that, he opposed our efforts.

    But “working to close” and closing are two different things, and the fact of the matter is that all of our efforts failed. Had Entergy not decided to close the plant for business reasons, it would be operating today. I pointed this out in detail here, so I won’t repeat it: http://vtdigger.wpengine.com/2015/07/01/rebecca-ellis-vermonts-energy-policy-addresses-climate-change/#comment-237494.

    There is, in other words, no contradiction between Bob’s remark referring to his “work with him [John Warshow] on the closing of Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant” and my repeated acknowledgement of the facially obvious: Entergy, like many other utilities, recognized that nuclear power cannot compete in today’s economic and regulatory markets with cheap natural gas.

    Peter Yankowski sees “hypocrisy” in the fact that Green Mountain Power, which has NEVER been and has NEVER professed to be anti-nuclear in the slightest, should be buying power from Seabrook. Apparently, he doesn’t know that GMP (and CVPS when they were separate) OWNED Vermont Yankee (and didn’t sell it because they suddenly became “anti-nuclear”). They also owned shares in many of the other nuclear plants in New England: Yankee Rowe, CT Yankee, Maine Yankee, and Millstone. They had contracts with PSNH to buy power from Seabrook as well (in which they were part owners) until Seabrook went bankrupt. (Other Vermont utilities owned shares in the various New England nukes – built and un-built – as well.) In short, many of Vermont’s utilities – who actually decide which power to buy – are and always have been supporters of nuclear power. CVPS and GMP risked their companies on nuclear power. VEC went bankrupt over it.

    Last I knew (shortly before the merger), CVPS was buying power from Millstone, as it had been for many years (decades?). My guess is that GMP still is.

    Peter Yankowski also appears to assume that Peter Shumlin (and many of the other senators who voted against it) opposed Vermont Yankee’s continued operations because they are anti-nuclear, but that too is patently false. The overwhelming majority of those who voted against continued operation are NOT anti-nuclear in the least, and that certainly includes the governor, who supported the plant for at least a decade. Some, like Senator Carris, were big SUPPORTERS of nuclear power and greatly disappointed to decide they had to vote against VY’s continuing operation.

    In short, neither Vermont’s utilities nor its politicians are being hypocritical in the least by buying power from Seabrook, but what IS hypocritical is Peter Yankowski’s complaint about “the elimination more than 600 great paying jobs” at VY while his own advocacy would result in the elimination of the more than 14,000 well-paid jobs in one of Vermont’s fastest growing economic sectors: clean energy.

    As to my “silence” in response to Kevin Ellis’s passing remark, Peter Yankowski now appears to be criticizing me for failing to correct every error that appears, however, passingly, in Vermont Digger. Merely to articulate this “argument” is a sufficient answer to it.

    • In November 2011, the Vermont Public Service Board approved Green Mountian Power’s purchase of nuclear power from the Seabrook plant in New Hampshire. This power was to replace that produced by Vermont Yankee, which Kevin Ellis gives Peter Shumlin credit for closing.

      The Vermont Department of Public Service, which reports and answers to Gov. Shumlin, supported the Seabrook agreement…….meaning Gov. Shumlin supported buying nuclear power from New Hampshire .

      On the one hand, Peter Shumlin pressed hard to close VY because he deemed it not to be safe. While on the other hand, he and his administration are perfectly happy to have Vermont utilities buy nuclear power produced in a neighboring state. This is the hypocrisy that John Greenberg fails to recognize and acknowledge.

      What’s even more incredible is that John Greenberg apparently thinks that the people of Vermont are so clueless that they fail to recognize the hypocrisy.

      Here’s a cite showing the Shumlin administration’s support of the Seabrook deal along with more of John Greenberg twisting himself into a pretzel trying to justify the hypocrisy:
      http://vtdigger.wpengine.com/2011/11/10/public-service-board-approves-green-mountain-power-seabrook-deal/

      • John Greenberg

        Peter:

        Suppose Peter Shumlin has an old car that he feels is no longer safe. By your logic, it would be hypocrisy for him to ever drive another car.

        Mind you, it’s perfectly reasonable to argue that ALL nuclear power plants are dangerous, and because Vermont Yankee is a nuclear plant, it should be closed. THAT is a perfectly logical syllogism, and it is at the core of the anti-nuclear argument. For someone who believes that to advocate buying nuclear power from ANOTHER plant would be a contradiction or, to use your term, “hypocrisy.”

        But that is not and was not the only argument against continued operation of Vermont Yankee.

        What for the most part swayed senators to vote against VY was not nuclear safety: it was management economics. Entergy offered Vermont utilities a lousy contractual price, and then to make things worse, wanted to spin the plant off into a highly risky corporation whose only assets were nuclear power plants nearing the end of their operating lifetimes. And it did both of these at a time when it had failed to keep promises made to legislators, as the testimony of Entergy witness Curt Hebert made plain during the federal court preemption trial.

        Indeed, as I have pointed out repeatedly in the past, the Enexus spinoff motivated at least one senator – Illuzzi – to state in an op-ed that he would like to vote FOR continued operations but would not do so while the Enexus deal remained on the table. From personal conversations, I know at least several other senators for whom this was a critical issue (meaning that Enexus turned their “yes” votes into “no” votes). Don’t take my word for it. Go read Randy Brock’s floor speech during the debate. Randy is NOT anti-nuclear in any way, shape or form.

        Of the 26 senators who voted against continued operations, fewer than 10 were actually opposed to nuclear power; looking at the list, I can see 4 whose positions I would characterize that way. Peter Shumlin, who — as I pointed out previously – SUPPORTED operating VY until 2012, but not afterwards – would not be included among those 4.

        And as I pointed out above, even for those who WERE motivated by concerns about VY’s safety, your logic is totally fallacious. Believing that VY is unsafe does NOT imply that Seabrook is. Put differently, it is perfectly logical and rational to believe that one plant is safe and the other not. (Perhaps, the NRC was being “hypocritical” when it effectively required Yankee Rowe to close but allowed the rest of the US’s nukes to continue to operate?)

        I don’t pursue this conversation in any hope of persuading you of anything. I’m not that foolish.

        I do believe that, if no one sets the record straight, then the distorted picture that you present in these screeds will become the “reality” and that there is a considerable danger in allowing history to be rewritten.

        • John:

          The fact that you have been a tireless defender of Gov. Shumlin and his policies is plainly clear by reading your comments on the vtdigger over the years.

          Whether it’s a case of directly praising the Governor or attacking those who have questioned his actions, you have been there standing tall. Oh, sure, you’ll find some remote example where you may have chided Mr. Shumlin’s actions and will now attempt to use it as an escape route from the tough spot of being a blind to reality Shumlin defender.

          Over the years as you have defended Mr. Shumlin, his behavior and efforts have continued to reflect poor judgment (The Jerry Dodge real estate deal), failed and costly efforts (health care exchange) and failed major policy initiatives (health care reform). His wrecking ball approach to closing Vermont Yankee that will leave the state with decades of headache also belongs on his list of misjudgments.

          Throughout a very painful past four years as your continued defense of Shumlin’s attacks on Vermont Yankee will attest, you have stayed glued to the man and his dismal record. While you have stayed glued to the Governor, the vast majority of Vermonter’s have recognized the hollowness of his words, the folly of his actions and have said we’ve had enough of Mr. Shumlin.

          Even, Mr. Shumlin has realized that he has failed, the people have abandoned him and a fourth term is impossible…….so he has waved the white flag of performance and policy failure and announced his decision not to run again.

          You now stand with a distinct minority as the last of the Shumlin apologists desperately defending failed ideas, failed judgment, and failed performance.
          A place so barren that praise of the Shumlin record is sadly reduced to:

          “For those angry with him (Peter Shumlin), remember that he closed Vt Yankee….”.

          • John Greenberg

            Peter:

            I should report rather than dignify what is actually an ad hominem attack – which, as usual responds to NONE of the actual points under discussion here, but nonetheless in the interest of minimal accuracy about my public advocacy, I will briefly respond here anyway.

            1) Governor Shumlin and I agree on at least the basics of Vermont’s energy policy and it is certainly fair to consider me a “tireless defender” of 4 key points on which he and I are on the same (or very similar) wavelengths: shutting down Vermont Yankee safely, encouraging investment in energy efficiency, acknowledging the reality of climate change, and promoting the buildout of renewable energy in Vermont. I am not reticent in the least to express my support for him on any of those points.

            Despite your oft-repeated and repeatedly-unsubstantiated comments in these columns, virtually all of the polls I’ve seen – and certainly the electoral and political record itself – suggests that the majority of Vermonters currently agree with me on all 3 points. In earlier periods, I recognized and acknowledged the fact that the majority of Vermonters did NOT agree with my positions. Fortunately, things change.

            But my advocacy is not determined by the agreement of the majority in any case. If anything, it’s precisely the other way around. I certainly do not and cannot claim credit for swaying the majority of Vermonters on these issues, but I have done and will continue to do what is within my power to make my voice heard on these issues.

            If my articulation is sound and convincing, the public will follow my lead; if not, more’s the pity. I owe no apologies for my advocacy and I certainly offer none.

            2) You call me a “tireless defender” of the governor, but fail to acknowledge what I have pointed out in this comment thread twice already. Peter Shumlin consistently defended the operation of Vermont Yankee through 2012. To my knowledge, he never wavered on that point. As an opponent of the plant and of nuclear power in general since well before Peter Shumlin took office, I never agreed with him on that point and certainly didn’t defend his point of view. Since for many of the years in question he was my state senator, I made sure he knew that.

            When Peter Shumlin came around to my point of view for the period following 2012, I was pleased to offer my support. An advocate who refuses to take yes for an answer from a politician is a poor advocate; politicians will (and should) ignore him or her. I was delighted to have a key politician sharing my point of view.

            Having said all that,

            3) You write that I “defended Mr. Shumlin, his behavior and efforts have continued to reflect poor judgment (The Jerry Dodge real estate deal), failed and costly efforts (health care exchange) and failed major policy initiatives (health care reform).” Similarly, you say that I “have stayed glued to the man and his dismal record,” but beyond his energy policies, you provide not one iota of evidence. Since I don’t recall writing comments on ANY of the other topics you mention, perhaps you’d be so kind as to provide some citations and URLs. Otherwise, like much of the rest of your rants, readers can safely assume you are simply making it up as you go along.

            4) Finally, I have seldom invoked the governor one way or the other in my discussions of tax policy, which is the other issue about which I comment with any consistency. In point of fact, I have NEVER agreed with Shumlin’s tax policies and I still don’t. Anyone who reads his positions and mine can see that we are on opposite sides of this issue. Shumlin has consistently argued AGAINST raising marginal tax rates for the highest income Vermonters; I have consistently supported precisely that.

            With all that out of the way, perhaps you’d like to acknowledge that your arguments about GMP’s and VT’s “hypocrisy” are both factually baseless and totally illogical. Perhaps pigs will fly!

          • John:

            I didn’t realize that referring to someone as a “tireless Shumlin Supporter” was considered an ad hominem attack. Mr. Shumlin is apparently more radioactive, no pun intended, then even the negative polls indicate to motivate you to play the “ad hominem” card.

            Or just maybe, one calling “tireless Shumlin supporter” an ad hominem is simply a mechanism used to deflect attention away from a losing argument, which is likely the case in this instance.

            I have been commenting on the vtdigger for about three years. During that time I have been a critic of Gov. Shumlin’s policies and particularly his performance. Criticisms that I believe are well deserved and shared by a majority of Vermonters based on his record, the 2014 election and by high disapproval ratings in a subsequent 2015 Castleton poll.

            These negative feelings by Vermonters are apparently so strong that Gov. Shumlin has decided not to run for reelection.

            Although you regularly confront me, I cannot recall you ever agreeing with any of my assessments of Mr. Shumlin’s performance. As a matter of fact, you have always disagreed with me, defended the governor while many times calling me a “Shumlin hater” because of my criticism.

            It is on this basis that I call you a “tireless defender of Gov. Shumlin”, hardly harsh words. Yet words you elect to call an “ad hominem attack”, apparently in a vain effort to divert attention from weaknesses in your arguments. Your “ad hominem” label is quite remarkable given your consistent defense of Gov. Shumlin when interfacing with me.

            Additionally, your cavalier generalizations charging me with making unsubstantiated comments actually does more to raise questions about your own loose and misleading play with the facts.

            Above you say: “Peter Shumlin consistently defended the operation of Vermont Yankee through 2012.” This is a totally misleading and disingenuous representation as Shumlin could effectively do nothing about VY operations until its license expired in 2012.

            Adding to the disingenuous nature of your comment is Senator Peter Shumlin’s 2010 controversial maneuvering to defeat S.289, a proposal that would have approved the continued operation of VY through 2032. Shumlin lead the Senate charge and personally voted to kill S.289 proving that he was strongly against the operation of Vermont Yankee in 2010 and well before 2012.

            I would be shocked if you were unaware of the 2010 vote on S.289 and Shumlin’s leadership role in defeating it. If you were aware, it makes your comments about Shumlin defending VY operations through 2012, misleading at the very best. If you were unaware, than you were speaking from a position of ignorance and just simply wrong.

            John, you may want to be more careful before crying “ad hominem attack” and in making definitive statements that collapse under the most rudimentary examination.

          • John Greenberg

            Peter:

            An “ad hominem” argument is one aimed at a person – in this case me – rather than any ideas or positions advocated, so whether or not an argument is ad hominem or not has nothing to do with either the content or the extent of the attempted denigration. Accordingly, most of your comment requires no further response other than to note that you’ve conveniently sidestepped the actual issues I raised by shifting this discussion to focus on me.

            I will, however, clarify two points.

            First, when I wrote that Peter Shumlin “SUPPORTED operating VY until 2012, but not afterwards,” I was trying to indicate that 2012 marked the point where VY’s operations under its existing license ended and a new NRC license and new permits (CPGs) needed to be acquired.

            Peter Shumlin’s consistent position was that VY should be allowed to operate until the expiration of its existing license, but not afterward. I made the point more clearly the first time I expressed it above: “When the issue became one of extending the plant’s life beyond 2012, rather than operating it for its full licensed lifetime, Peter Shumlin joined us. Prior to that, he opposed our efforts.” The 2010 senate vote did not have any bearing on operations prior to the March, 2102 date and hence does not contradict the point I was making.

            Accordingly, I thought that the context of this discussion, and the fact that, in your own words, you “would be shocked if … [I] were unaware of the 2010 vote on S.289 and Shumlin’s leadership role in defeating it” would make the meaning of the phrase you picked out unambiguous. Nonetheless, I have to admit that, out of context, my phrasing can be read ambiguously.

            Second, you state: “Shumlin could effectively do nothing about VY operations until its license expired in 2012.” Ironically, in the end and despite the fact that we all thought otherwise at the time, he couldn’t do anything about the operations AFTER that date either!

            But to your point …

            Vermont Yankee came up as a legislative issue a number of times prior to the 2010 Senate vote about whether or not to allow the plant to continue operating after 2012.

            Most crucially perhaps, it came up when the legislature took up Governor Dean’s (and the utilities’) suggestion to open Vermont’s electricity markets to market forces.

            VY was clearly an expensive albatross (the term of art was “stranded asset”) for Vermont’s utilities back in the late 1990s when the legislature was debating utility restructuring, and Peter Shumlin played a key role in killing a provision in the restructuring bill which would have allowed the plant to be subjected to market forces along with everything else.

            In the end, the issue became moot because the entire restructuring effort died in the Vermont House and was never re-introduced. But had the restructuring bill passed with the provision Mr. Shumlin killed still in it, there’s an excellent chance the plant would have been shuttered for economic reasons more than a decade before the expiration of its license.

            Over the years, there were other issues which impacted the plant without directly addressing the “either/or” of continued operations (tax issues, fuel storage issues), and in these discussions as well, Peter always leaned towards supporting the plant’s positions.

            In short, I stand by my previous remarks.

    • “14.000 jobs”, that benefit the renewable energy industrial complex. But we would pay for those jobs,in our electric rates or taxes for subsidies, or in pollution from selling the RECs.

      Try to imagine how many jobs will be created when there is not a need for a power bill AND we`re not supporting the MIC`s perpetual war machine /oil bill.

      And compare how much CO2 is shot into the atmosphere from the war machine (Oh,save the machine,we need the JOBS) to the net saved
      CO2 from solar panels and pinwheels.

      We do not need atom splitting farms nor
      solar and wind farms.

      • John Greenberg

        “But we would pay for those jobs,in our electric rates or taxes for subsidies, or in pollution from selling the RECs.”

        There are roughly 1,000 Vermonters working in the agricultural sectors.(http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_vt.htm#45-0000)

        But we pay for those jobs when we eat.

        And your point is??

        • Doug Hoffer

          John – A brief off-topic comment: That figure represents a small portion of total employment in the food sector. BLS’ definition of “farming” does not include those who sell farm inputs (fertilizer, seed, equipment, etc.), or those who process raw food into value-added products (food mfg. has been growing quite nicely in VT), or those engaged in wholesale and retail distribution.

          For those interested, I encourage you to visit the website of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, which manages the Farm to Plate project (among others). It is a rich source of data and information about the food system.

        • We need to eat, and better if it`s sourced from VT. We do not need, and will proceed more profitably as a people, without primitive and pie in the sky solar and wind RE.

  • Bob Stannard

    Thank you John for pointing out the obvious difference between “working to close” and “closing”. I’ve opted to no longer engage with these folks for reasons like this.

    • Kevin Daniels

      Bob,

      What exactly did you mean when you wrote the following?

      “Whether or not you agree with his agenda, it’s impossible to deny that he did follow through on much of what he said he would do.

      He made no secret about his desire to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. It closed.”

      If he had nothing to do with the closing of the plant, why mention the way you did? A reasonable person would clearly read that as you giving Shumlin credit.

      Could you answer this simple question?

      Was Peter Shumlin responsible for VY permanently shutting down?

  • Bob:

    Do you understand that it was Gov. Shumlin supporter Kevin Ellis in a desperate attempt to find something, anything, positive to say who said:

    “For those angry with him (Peter Shumlin), remember that he closed Vt Yankee….”

    It was Mr. Ellis who said “he closed Vt Yankee”. He didn’t say “working to close”, so is Mr. Ellis one of the folks you’ve opted to no longer engage?

  • Leslie Sullivan Sachs

    Sadly, the above exchanges epitomize why I rarely comment on VtDigger’s posts about energy issues. The topic of the post is the life and death of John Warshow. Rather than honoring him, the same old cast of characters once again hijacked the thread, rehashing arguments in comments made a hundred times before, about history that has little to do with the topic at hand.
    Usually I simply move on to another site as soon as the first comment by the gang is posted. But John Warshow deserves better than this.
    Take a lesson from John Warshow. To quote the post, “He also had no ego. The question was never whose idea it was, but the result,” Rubin said. “With someone like that, with intelligence and integrity, you can accomplish a lot and we did.”

    • Kevin Daniels

      I find it quite telling that many of the anti-nukes rarely engage members of the public beyond the occasional one-off editorial or post in which they never return to counter the ensuing rebuttals.

      John Greenberg is the exception rather than the rule.

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