Activists urge Douglas not to veto legislation

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(Host) Antinuclear Activists in Brattleboro and Montpelier today urged Governor Douglas not to veto the legislature’s recently-passed global warming bill.

The bill includes a windfall profits tax on power generated by Entergy Vermont Yankee. VPR’s Susan Keese was in Brattleboro and files this report.

(Keese) The activists claim Vermont has the most high-level commercial nuclear waste per person of any state. They cited a Federal Department of Energy Study projecting that 670 metric tons of waste will be stored in or near Vermont Yankee by 2011.

Many states have much more than that. But divided by the state’s population, they say, Vermont comes out number one.

Ed Anthes of Dummerston is with Nuclear Free Vermont.

(Anthes) “Vermont Yankee’s license expires in 2012. It should shut down then and it shouldn’t make any more nuclear waste after that time. Our Vermont legislature has passed a good bill to help transition our economy and our citizens to a rich future. With this bill we start to find ways to generate electricity with renewable sources and we start using less fuel in our homes.”

(Keese) The bill is controversial because it uses a tax on Entergy Vermont Yankee, or ENVY, for a program to increase heating fuel efficiency in the state. Critics say the state has already sealed an agreement with the power plant’s owners.

But Anthes says the bill would bring Yankee to the level at which new wind projects are taxed.

(Anthes) “ENVY would still have tens of millions of dollars in windfall profits to ship out of the state. They would just have to leave a little more behind. They’re leaving their nuclear waste behind, so it’s right that they help us get over our addiction to nuclear generated electricity.”

(Keese) Meanwhile, the town of Vernon, which hosts the Yankee plant, has threatened secession if the governor doesn’t veto the bill. The town receives $1.75 million in tax payments from the plant.

Annett Royden is the chairwoman of the Vernon Selectboard.

(Royden) “Vermont Yankee is already paying $4.5 million a year for clean green energy. It doesn’t make any sense to any of us here.”

(Keese) Royden says, however, that she believes the governor will veto the bill.

For VPR news, I’m Susan Keese

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