Towns Speak Out On Vermont Yankee

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(Host) As of early evening, fourteen towns have called on the Legislature to make sure Vermont Yankee shuts down after its license expires in two years.

The towns join about 40 communities that voted last year on similar non-binding resolutions. Backers said their goal was to send a message to lawmakers that Vermont needs to find renewable energy resources.

VPR’s John Dillon covered the Vermont Yankee vote in the Mad River Valley, where three towns approved the resolution.

(Magill) Before we go any further – it is 12 o’clock. I assume you guys are going to want to keep going. Yes! Or should we break for lunch? Okay.

(Dillon) Item number 33 – the question on Vermont Yankee — came up late in Moretown. Some of the voters had already drifted away. And this being a Vermont town meeting, lunch could not be passed over.

But after he checked the hunger of the crowd, moderator Steve Magill worked through the rest of the items until he got to Vermont Yankee.

(Magill Resolution) Shall the voters of Moretown approve a resolution to request the Vermont Legislature to: 1) Deny the approval of the operation of Vermont Yankee past March 2012, which marks the end of its 40 year design life.

(Dillon) Resident Colleen Thomas said the resolution was not a referendum on nuclear power. She said it was focused specifically on Entergy Vermont Yankee – which she said had misled the Legislature and regulators about leaking underground pipes.

(Thomas) I think they violated the trust. And it is really important to realize that even though the Senate has made an overwhelming vote to not support relicensing, that Entergy the very next day came out publicly saying that they don’t consider the battle over. And it’s incredibly important right now that all the towns that are voting on this speak out against continuing Vermont Yankee.

(Dillon) Moretown selectman Dave Van Deusen said he sympathized with the workers at Vermont Yankee.

(VanDeusen) There’s 350 or so good union jobs there, I mean jobs that pay well above other area jobs – the type of jobs you could raise a good family on.

(Dillon) So Van Deusen proposed an amendment calling on Entergy to fund a re-training program so the employees could find jobs in the green energy field. The amendment passed. Then the question was called.

(Magill) All in favor of calling the question for Article 33, indicate by saying aye. AYE. Opposed; nay

(Dillon) The vote itself was also overwhelming in favor – and Moretown had gone on record in support of Yankee closing in 2012.

A much shorter discussion took place in Waitsfield, a few miles south on Route 100.

A motion was made to pass over the Yankee item. That motion failed. And then resident Carol Hosford spoke in favor of the resolution.

(Hosford) We don’t want to become a household word like Chernobyl or Three Mile Island. And I think that were we to up the contract for another 20 years, we stand in danger of something like this happening.

(Dillon) Neighboring Fayston also adopted the resolution.

It was not approved in all towns where it was on the ballot. Rockingham voted against it, and the town of Cambridge voted not consider it.

For VPR News, I’m John Dillon in Montpelier.

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