You Can Quote Me -- February 28, 2010 -- Sen. Peter Shumlin, D-President Pro Tem, joins Kristin Carlson to discuss the outcome of the Vt. Senate vote on the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant and its impact on the state.
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This is you can quote me.
Good morning everyone I'm Darren Perron.
>> And I'm Kristin Carlson.
Our news maker this morning is senate president Peter Shumlin, here to talk about the no vote at the statehouse on Vermont Yankee.
>> We will have your neighbors in the news.
A high seas rescue for a Vermont teen.
A college kid returns to the half pipe after a traumatic brain injury.
we check out pricey Vermont puzzles that go for thousands of dollars.
And still barbering in Burlington.
We will explain coming up
>> But first Peter Shumlin.
He is here to talk about the historic vote that just lapped in the Vermont senate where there was a clear and loud message not to rely sense Vermont Yankee in 2012.
Thanks so much for being here.
>> Thanks for having me.
>> First of all, been a few days now and you have had a little time to digest what's happened.
What sort of feetback have you had?
I imagine the phones are a little busy.
>> The phones are jamming and I was proud of the senate vote to.
get a vote 26‑4 bipartisan vote making a judgment that I think Vermonters wanted us to make.
That it is time to retire Vermont Yankee as schedules.
And do it in 2012.
There are 5 reasons why I made the judgment I made and why I think the senate made the judgments they made.
First is price.
This is probably one of the best kept seek receipts.
But Louisiana has offered us a price after 2012 that will be 50% higher for any juice we are buying from them than they pay right now.
>> 4 cents going up to 6.1.
and that's just not a good deal.
That's why green mountain power and they said this is a terrible deal for Vermont.
Second reason is, the decommissioning fund.
the cleanup fund.
They promised to return that to a Greenfield went ever the plant shuts down.
It will cost a billion dollars preCobalt cleanup to take the plant away.
There is 600 million dollars short.
Only 400 million in the fund right now.
So we feel very strongly that Vermonters shouldn't get stuck with that bill.
I am convinced that Entergy Louisiana wants to stick Vermonters with that bill.
Third reason is this spinoff.
This is one of the nuttiest I think I believe Vermont could go along with.
Makes the she than I dance on Wall Street look like kindergarten play.
Makes Lehman brothers and AIG look like a good financial plan.
What they are suggesting to do is to take their 6 old nuclear power plants of which ours is one of them, go to a closing, put 3.5 billion dollars of borrowed money in their stockholders pockets, and they are out of the nuclear power business and frankly you can't blame them for wanting to be out of the age being nuclear powerplant business.
What they then have to do, this new company called ANEXUS is to issue junk bonds for 1.2 billion dollars and we are left with a new partner that has 4.2 billion dollars worth of debt and 6 old nuclear power plants as assets, that's just a bad idea for Vermont.
The fourth is, that obviously reliability is a real problem there.
it is one of the things that we need to make a judgment on.
But you know these plants were designed to be built for 40 years and run for 40 years when they were built.
This one has been run for 38.
It is not reliable anymore.
And that's one reason why there is TRIDIUM leaking into the groundwater back in my county, windham county.
That's obviously another example that the plant is not reliable and finally I think Vermonters have come to the conclusion that this company just can't be trusted.
And you know I have learned in running a business, that if you do business with someone that you can't trust, that won't tell you the truth, you will get burned every single time.
And I think that is why we made the the judgment that we D
>> Well let's take a look at pictures from the day of the vote.
There was a large turnout of opponents of Vermont Yankee, people who have been working for decades to try to shut down the plant.
People were excited by the overwhelming vote but no everyone was so pleased with the outcome of the vote.
We heard today from Mike ball, the chairman in the town of Vernon on the select board and he said you know, listening to the debate, he didn't feel that there was a fair representation of all the issues and that senators were not looking out for the interests of windham county.
that's the county you represent.
And I know Mike bell.
In fact Mike works at the plant as well, I believe.
And you know, obviously it is a very divided decision for windham county.
A lot of my folks work at the plant.
They are good paying jobs.
And the last thing we want to do is put good Vermonters out of work in a time when we are trying to create jobs and get this economy moving.
At the same time, you know, the old saying, you can't sell a silk purse out of a SOW's ear and clearly the judgment we have to make is do we have a trust wore at this partner.
Answer I no.
They can't tell us the truth.
Is the plant reliable.
Pretty clear that it is not.
We can't seem to get to the bottom of the leak.
We are now going into month three on that one.
I hate to think of the environmental dang that it is doing.
Is it a good price?
And finally, will this company meet their promise of cleaning it up when they go?
and it looks like they don't want to.
>> You and two other senators are running for governor and in the comments afterward one of the other senators Phil Scott made some comments that he thought this there was a lot of political grand standing.
Let's hear what he had to say.
You heard what he had to same let's listen in.
>> I cannot stand by and vote to support what I view as a blatant political maneuver.
My yes vote is a reminder that there is more at stake today than scoring political points.
>> You are in a very tough primary and it is typically the more liberal votes that turn out.
Were you trying to score political points here?
>> Absolutely not.
My job is to do my work as senate president and you know I might ‑‑ we might add that Phil Scott is a great friend of mine.
He is actually in a primary for Lieutenant Governor.
>> Everyone is running pretty much in the senate.
>> We all ‑‑ as they say when you live in a glass house, don't throw stones but I have been focused on the policy decision.
It has been no secret that I wanted to vote on this for 3.5 years.
If anyone has been consistent about their position on the need to retire this plant on schedule, it is me.
You know free press, December 30 announcement.
Peter Shumlin says they are going to vote on Vermont Yankee.
That's where I have been.
I have been consistent on it and my experience is, Kristen that let's look at what Vermont Yankee's arguments have been over the last few years and frank lit governors and p others that support rely sensing this plant.
The first was that it was going to be cheap power.
Well that didn't work out so well.
The second was, that this was a safe reliable plant.
Well that's not looking so good.
So that argument went down the river with the TRIDIUM.
The third argument was that this was a trustworthy well‑run company.
Well, obviously many feel in Vermont they can't seem to tell the truth and they are not trustworthy.
So the merits of the arguments were gone.
They had then to go to process.
All they could say is Pete Shumlin is running for governor this.
must be about politics and this its about process and when you get to that kind of argument, I will say our job is to do policy.
Judge us on the facts.
The senate made the judgment on the facts.
That's why the vote was a bipartisan vote, 26‑4.
I'm very proud of the fact that we had an open, honest thoughtful discussion.
I think we can be proud of Vermont's democracy.
>> I'm curious when you made p your mind on this because I remember talking to you in the past and you had said this is a rel tough one for you because it is about half or so of your constituents either work at the plant or support the the plant.
About half say no.
We need to shut down the plant right away.
So you had felt torn.
You had told me leading up to the vote.
At what point did you say this is it, I have made up my mind, I have seen enough?
>> You know, I really was relying on my chairs to make the call of when we should vote and I had senator Cummings, who has done an extraordinary job chairing the finance committee, taking testimony on this question for four years as well as senator Lyons from Chittenden county, an extraordinary chair who has been taking testimony in the natural resources committee and both came to me independently two weeks act and said Peter there isn't anymore testimony to take.
Anyone that is willing to talk to us has been heard from.
It is time to vote.
>> But at what point did you decide how you were going to vote?
>> Well, I made the judgment some time ago that I didn't think it was in Vermont's best interest to work with Entergy Louisiana and to run this plant beyond the schedules closing date and mostly for me an issue of trust.
I met with the folks three years ago when I came back as senate president and I was told a mistruth in my judgment by one of the top people from the company in Louisiana in that meeting.
And I have been saying for three and a half years, when everyone will ask, listen Entergy Louisiana doesn't do business the way we do business in Vermont.
Now whether Vermonters have come to the the same conclusion, but I made that judgment some time ago.
>> One thing that came up on the house floor and even was brought up by some people who eventually ended up supporting not rely sensing Vermont Yankee was the idea of we haven't had a lot of testimony about the economic impact and Cummings admitted that we haven't taken a look at that.
you probably do know somebody of the ‑‑ some of the impacts.
We understand within 3 months half of the work force will be laid off.
Within a few more years will be reduced down to 41 people.
And eventually will take 2, 3 people to monitor the waste.
We can't get into the security details side of it but just running the plant.
You know when you look at the numbers, the impact, you know the impact it will have on Vernon should the senate have taken time on understand being the economic impact there.
>> What senator Cummings said isn't that we hadn't taken testimony is that there are no answer to the questions.
It depends on how we decommission that plant.
Entergy wants to put that plant in safe store which is a really bad idea.
Idea that is you leave the carcus of the plant on the banks of the river for 60 years while you wait for the cleanup fund to build up enough money.
>> That's the plan they filed with the state?
If that were to happen, it is a very different economic impact than if they do what we feel they promised to do, which is to shut the plant down in 2012, let it cool off before 5 years which it would take 200 to 300 employees, well‑paid employees during that period.
And then invest a billion dollars which will mean more workers of Vermont Yankee than we have ever had for a 10‑year period while they spend this billion or more decommissioning the plant so thrills one scenario.
If that transpires, it will temporarily have a positive impact on the economy in windham county.
if they get the safe store option, it is going to have a debt crypt ‑‑ detrimental effect after 5, 6 years.
Because we don't know which will ab proved by the NRC it is an impossible question to answer so it is not that we needed to take more testimony.
It is that nobody has the answer until we have that question answered.
>> But given all the issues you raised about 5, strong concerns you had you thought at that point the jobs weren't the issue for you?
>> Jobs are always a issue.
that's why today on the senate floor we just passed the most comprehensive jobs bill that the state has seen in a long time.
Will do a lot of great things that I would be happy to talk about but not related to this question.
But the point is, if we could operate this plant in a ‑‑ in a reliable fashion with a company we could trust, with a price that made sense, you know as if the plant hadn't been built a long time ago that it wasn't designed to go for 40 years and then be taken away, that would be a worthwhile thoughtful discussion but it isn't our option here this.
isn't like the hydro plant or solar panels or bio mass or any of the other energy sources that we have in Vermont right now.
We are feeding Vermont.
This was a plant that was designed to run for 40 years.
40 years are up.
The consequences for an aging nuclear power plant when it is old are significant.
You know look at this TRIDIUM.
I think there is Cobalt in that too looking ‑‑ leaking into the ground water and river.
We can't create something out of a plant that was designed to be shut down in 2012ened we have to remember that as a state it is not like we can sort of run this thing forever.
I have always been surprised at the level of debate on that question.
You know folks sort of a‑‑ the question is either we shut it down on schedule or that we can run it forever.
It is really not a question.
>> One other quick question on the political side of things, is the bill was worded in a very interesting way which pretty much started and ended debate in the senate as opposed to most bills the way they move through as they move forward through the process.
The way this bill was worded was it was designed to stop and some senators who were critical of the wording of the bill.
Why did it take such an unusual crafting of the language in this bill as opposed to having it go along like any other bill where it moves forward through the process, through the house, for example?
>> Well what makes this bill different is it is responding to act 160.
When we drafted it we had to be careful to make sure it was addressing act 160, which said very simply that the ‑‑ the public service board cannot grant a ‑‑ issue a certificate of public good.
To continue to operate the plant for another 20 years unless they get an affirmative vote from the legislature saying that that is in Vermont's best interests.
So the bill had to be drafted to say yes, we as a legislature affirm act 160 and grant permission to the public service board to grant a certificate of public good.
It had to be drafted that way by law and therefore like any bill, in order to get an affirmative vote it has to pass both chambers and be signed by the governor.
There is no different than any bill.
In this case if it didn't get through one chamber, the answer is obviously the sure is saying no, it is not the in Vermont's best interests to continue to operate the the plant beyond the scheduled closing date.
>> Do you foresee a federal fight on this?
>> That's what they are all saying now is that Entergy will sue and will take to us court or some mysterious other party.
The problem with that is, is that Entergy agreed to this process when the bill was passed.
I wasn't in the legislature at the time but it was passed by a voice vote I understand.
Signed by governor Douglas.
It was supported by Entergy Louisiana and then they went down to the public service board and signed a memorandum of understanding stating that not only would they abide by act 160, but they wouldn't sue for preemption in court so now we have a account the that ace caused of not telling Vermonters the truth, that has got to go to a judge and say oh and by the way on this memorandum of understanding that we signed with the public service board, we sort of changed our mind about what we told you and signed and agreed to about that too.
We don't want that ‑‑ we want to change what we said and I think it is a really tough argument to make in this judge in to country after you agreed and signed a legal document with a judicial rig la tri board.
>> So quickly you think Yankee will close in 2012?
>> I think the vote in the senate this week will result in Vermont Yankee being ‑‑ being retired as scheduled in 2012.
and I think the opportunity for Vermont is to start to show the rest of the country how we can move to a renewable energy portfolio that creates jobs, gets this economy moving and gets us after our addiction to fossil fuels.
>> We will have to leave it there.
we will have a lot more to talk about but we will leave it there.
thank you very much.
>> Thanks very much.
Always a flesh.
>> Here is dare Webb our neighbors in the news.
>> Thank you.
a Vermont teen plucked from the ocean after her ship sinks.
We are there for the emotional reunion with her family next.
Basher barber barbering Barber Barbering barbering barbering
>>> A Vermont teen is home from a harrowing adventure on the high seas.
She was on board a ship that sank off the coast of Brazil.
We were there when she was reunited with her family.
>> Still wearing the oversized Brazilian Navy pants her rescuers provided, 17 year old walked out a set of glass doors at the airport Monday night and into the arms of her father and younger sister.
Ross was the lone Vermont student on board the Concordia, a ship that doubles as a school when a sudden microburst of air tipped the boat on its side last Wednesday.
Ross was sitting in her history class when it happened.
>> The water started coming in and the windows started to, like, started cracking.
And then everybody started screaming.
It was really really hectic.
>> Students and crew drilled extensively for this type of situation so they all knew exactly what to do.
Ross, her 47 classmates plus teachers and crew scrambled to put on life vests.
>> The sails were in the water.
They were ripped.
The alarms were going off.
>> All 64 people on board made it safely into the life boats and began the long process of waiting for help.
300 miles off the coast of Brazil.
The boat took just 20 minutes to sink and the captain had no time to call for help so relied on an automatic distress beacon to alert others to the crisis.
>> It was the most terrifying thing I have ever experienced in my life.
>> Meanwhile back in Stowe rolls' parents missed several calls from the school that operates the class afloat program.
They were finally awakened by a cull at 2:45 Friday morning from the U.S. consulate in Spain.
>> And then he said and you ar wear that the ‑‑ the ship sunk off the coast of Brazil.
And I just ‑‑ we actually thought it was Mabel a prank phone call.
>> It was no prank.
The students spent more than 30 hours adrift at sea before a Brazilian Air Force jet spotted them.
>> This is the best ‑‑ this is the best sound I have ever heard.
>> 8 hours later, merchant ships plucked them from the sea and brought them back to land.
Most of the students flew back to Toronto.
Ross came home to Vermont.
She says she would definitely go back to the class afloat and her younger sister Sloan still plans to do the program next year.
Bianca Slota, channel 3 news in Burlington.
>>> Kevin pierce continues to recover from a traumatic brain injury he suffered on the half pipe.
It is a struggle that a Champlain college knows all too well.
He had a similar crash.
Keaghan harsha has his story
>> He treasures every moment he gets to spend on the slopes.
The 19 year old Champlain college student has been snowboarding since he was 5 years old.
But ask him to talk about last winter, and there is not much he can tell you.
>> I don't remember anything from that day.
And the the whole week before.
>> Eric was seriously injured in a snowboarding accident.
He went off a jump in a terrain park and flew 30 feet in the air before landing on his side and collapsing both of his lungs.
>> It is like equivalent to getting hit by a bus going 30 miles an hour.
They say if you collapse your lungs, you only have 90 minutes to get to a hospital.
Well they got me there in exactly 90 minutes.
>> Eric also broke his collar bone, his pelvis, several ribs, and suffered a lacerated liver, all serious injuries but relatively minor when compared to his head injury.
>> He came right to the knife edge, and had he a very very severe traumatic brain injury with lots of swelling inside his brain which requires our very most advanced medical therapy to try and control that.
>> Rob Williams wasn't his doctor but is familiar with this case and says a helmet likely saved the snowboarder's life.
Eric spent two weeks in a coma and had to relearn had to do just about everything.
From simple p every day tasks like showering ‑‑
>> Washing the same body parts over and over again.
And everything would just take me a lot longer.
>> To playing his guitar.
>> And stories like Eric's are all too common.
Severe head trauma accounts for about 15% of all skiing and snowboarding‑related injuries.
And is the most frequent cause of death on the slopes.
Studies show how much reduced ski‑related injuries by 50%.
A helmet awareness program in Vermont seems to be helping.
According to Fletcher Allen health care only a third of all skiers and riders in Vermont wore helmets in 2002, compared to almost 70% today.
>> The medical literature there is no controversy about this.
helmets are good.
>> It is like his story that he is talking about.
>> Air ache grease a helmet likely saved his life.
He is now back in school and on the road to recovery.
>> It is also I'm glad to be back you know?
>> Thankful to be alive after dodging a bullet just one year ago.
Keaghan harsha, channel 3 news in Stowe.
>> Eric still struggles with some memory issues.
He hopes his accident will serve as a lesson to others and he even wrote a song about his ordeal.
To hear it just visit our website.
>> It takes patience to put puzzles together and at one Vermont company it takes women to make them.
Jack Thurston explains.
>> Step into STAVE puzzles in Norwich and you will hear the buzz of saws slicing through wood.
guided by the skilled hands of a bank of busy crafters.
>> Never liked the job so much before.
>> But look closely at those workers.
Their pony tails and will see the staff here is all women.
>> Like a bunch of sisters.
It is really fun.
It is a good feeling.
>> There have been men who have worked cutting out jigsaw puzzle over the history but for one reason or another they don't last.
>> It is just the way it has worked out.
It is all women and it is a great staff.
>> Many of the women have logged 10, 15 or 20 years of service.
They say they seem to have the best eyes for color and detail and the patience it takes to do this intricate work.
>> I did some sowing and the movement, a lot like sowing on a sowing machine, maneuvering the fabric around like you maneuver the wood so that lends itself for being a good puzzle cut early.
>> I'm an artist as well.
As outside working here so I think if you are already an artist, this is much easier to pick up.
>> STAVE puzzles started in cardboard but switched to five layers of wood at a customer's request.
>> Crafters can spend 4 or more days cutting out one puzzle, customized it with people's names or dates.
>> A piece of wood and play.
>> They specialize in excruciatingly complex designs.
Some trick puzzles even have several possible solutions.
Little I Ted edition articulate and the craftsmanship make these the Mercedes‑Benz of jigsaw puzzles with price tags from $100 to $20,000.
Most sell for around $500.
cost rises with the number of pieces.
>> Every puzzle is crafted specifically for the customer.
One peels at a time.
One puzzle at a time.
>> STAVE counts Microsoft founder bill gates, Stephen king and broad way composer Steven Soundheim among its customers.
Consumer see these as heirlooms
They will spent countless hours on.
>> As long as people want a puzzle we will be here.
>> And she expects she will still be leading a team of mostly women ‑‑
>> Sa is so unique
>> As they continue challenging its customers with these made in Vermont brain teasers.
>> If you are due for a hair cut you might want to visit Kevin in Burlington.
He is one of the few old‑time Barbers left.
Our photographer takes us to the Barber shop.
>> This shop, they started this one in 1965.
>> My father did it for 50 years.
I've got 75, 80 year old men who my grandfather gave them their first hair cut.
>> And there is not many Barbers that are still cutting hair now.
I mean, what they used to be.
>> Don't do any shaving.
I don't think anyone does any shaving around.
A few shops have closed down.
I can remember a lot rot of the old guys telling me there were 3, 4 shops on north street.
There is a whole bunch of them downtown.
And just recently I think a guy closed down on college street.
They die off.
There is no one there to pick it up.
>> So I enjoy coming here.
>> Makes someone look good and they feel good about it for the most part, you know?
people usually come out of here feeling, you know, with a nice clean cut.
They are ready to go, you know?
it is gratifying.
That's going to do it.
I'm just glad that people still know I'm here and come in here, you know?
I appreciate it.
>> Good to see those businesses still in business.
>> That's right.
Those good community shops and a great place to hang out and of course get your hair cut.
>> Definitely so.
We got a lot coming up this week on the chapel 3 news at 6:00.
>> That's right.
Of course, on Tuesday it is town meeting day.
Are we going to have a lot of results for you.
Of course we will be tracking all the big results on the school budget votes but also, in Lowell, a very significant vote on the future of a big wind power project there so that will be very interesting.
>> Definitely one to watch for sure.
We have a series of reports coming up on cyber bullying called mean girls.
You don't want to miss that.
Some important tips for parents.
>> That's right.
And that's going to do it for us.
Until next week I'm Kristin Carlson.
>> I'm Darren Perron.
We will see you soon everybody.
>> Take care.