Windham County lawmakers question radiological response plan

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(Host) Legislators from Windham County are asking the governor to reconsider approving the current radiological emergency response plan. The plan covers details for evacuating in case of a radioactive release at Vermont Yankee.

It’s been the subject of a letter writing campaign by citizens and officials in the towns closest to the plant. The letters say the plan is unworkable as it stands and list specific concerns they say haven’t been met.

Public Safety Commissioner Kerry Sleeper announced on Tuesday that he’d already submitted the annual Letter of Certification to FEMA. He says it’s not up to the governor to approve or disapprove the plan.

(Sleeper) “I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there regarding exactly what the certification process is. The actual approval per se of the plan falls solely upon the responsibility of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. There’s nothing that says I certify this plan is anything. This is a federal requirement by FEMA that the State of Vermont once a year report to them on the activities that have taken place to support the plans – how much training was conducted, what the current issues are.”

(Host) Sleeper says Vermont Emergency Management has worked hard to include towns in the emergency planning process. He says many local concerns were included in his letter to FEMA.

Windham County Senator Jeanette White says her delegation is still concerned. She pointed to a recent unsuccessful school bus drill in Brattleboro and other issues.

(White) “If you look at the example of Vernon: Vernon sent in their proposed changes 18 months ago and to date they have not had a response from VEM. I mean, that doesn’t sound like collaboration to me.”

(Host) White says at least 11 Windham County delegates plan to present their concerns to the governor in a letter on Wednesday.

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