Attorney General Consults DC Law Firm On VY Appeal

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(Host) Attorney General Bill Sorrell is consulting with a Washington, DC law firm as he weighs whether to appeal the state’s loss in the recent Vermont Yankee case.

Sorrell has until February 21st to challenge Judge Garvan Murtha’s decision that said the legislature was not allowed under federal law to force the plant to close next month.

Sorrell said he hasn’t decided whether to appeal.

(Sorrell) "We’ve gotten slowed down a little bit because we wanted to consult with a nationally known law firm that does a lot of federal appellate work."

(Host) The law firm is Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans and Figel. Sorrell says lawyer David Frederick with the firm has extensive experience before the US Supreme Court.

(Sorrell) "They’re very, very well respected. David Frederick – he’s another Kathleen Sullivan, I guess that’s the shortest way to put it."

(Host) Kathleen Sullivan is the former dean of Stanford Law School who represented Entergy Vermont Yankee in its successful lawsuit.

Sorrell says one of the possible grounds for appeal is that Judge Murtha misinterpreted the legislative record when he ruled that lawmakers were mainly motivated by concerns over nuclear safety when they passed two bills affecting Vermont Yankee. 

Federal law says states cannot regulate the safety of nuclear power plants.

(Sorrell) "He took a couple of dozen or so statements that Entergy put into the record on different drafts of different bills in different committees at different times and essentially reached the conclusion that those two dozen or so statements – largely by unnamed legislators – spoke for 180 legislators and the governor who signed it."

(Host) Sorrell says he hired the same DC law firm to help the state prepare its case. That advice cost the state about $50,000.


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