Judge: Vermont Yankee must control how much it warms Connecticut River

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(Host) An Environmental Court judge says Vermont Yankee must control how much it warms the Connecticut River.

Yankee uses water from the river to cool the nuclear power plant. Environmental groups had appealed a state permit that allowed Yankee to heat the river by an additional one degree in the summer. The groups said a warmer river would affect the fish habitat

Judge Meredith Wright’s ruling left the environmental groups unsatisfied. She allowed the nuclear plant to heat the water as long as the river temperature does not rise above 76.7 degrees.

Vermont Law School Professor Patrick Parenteau argued the case.

(Parenteau) The problem with Judge Wright’s decision is that it doesn’t go far enough. It does provide additional limited protection in the summer season for the benefit of the American Shad. But the Clean Water Act really doesn’t allow that kind of narrow protection in our view. It requires an up or down decision on whether variances from the normal water quality standards should be allowed.

(Host) Vermont Yankee claimed victory in the ruling.

The company said in a statement that the judge conditionally approved its request to heat the river by one degree above previous permit conditions.

Parenteau said the groups will appeal because they believe the judge did not interpret the law correctly.



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