"Vermont Yankee had the law on its side and I think Vermont Yankee had the facts on its side as well," said Cheryl Hanna, a professor at the Vermont Law School.
Hanna has long predicted a win for Entergy, the Louisiana company that owns Vermont Yankee. Simply put, she says Entergy did a better job arguing the facts of the case.
"What we saw in the difference of lawyering was the ability of Vermont Yankee's lawyers to harness both the law and the facts in such a way that it was convincing to the court," Hanna said.
"The attorney general's office was saddled with a very bad legislative record where individual legislators were constantly talking about radiation safety issues," said Pat Parenteau, a professor at the Vermont Law School.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a federal authority, regulates plant safety. The state has no jurisdiction there. Hanna disagrees that the safety concerns of lawmakers cost Vermont the case. She says a lack of specificity and clarity about issues other than safety ultimately doomed the state.
"They could never clearly and concisely articulate the environmental impact would be X, the economic impact would be X," Hanna said.
"Most courts, when they interpret statutes, stick to the text of the statute," Parenteau said.
Parenteau criticized the judge for considering the motives of the lawmakers. He says that gives the attorney general a basis for appeal.
"If he were to take a narrow appeal challenging the way that Judge Murtha applied this precedent from the Supreme Court, I think it argues in favor of taking an appeal." Parenteau said.
Hanna is not nearly as optimistic.
"I think if there was a chance for the state to win anywhere, in front of any court, it was in front of Judge Murtha's court," Hanna said.
Historically, Judge Murtha has come down on the side of the state. But Hanna says Entergy's legal team repeatedly directed the judge back to the legislative record, leaving little choice for a different outcome.
"It's an extremely meticulous decision and so I have a hard time seeing the Second Circuit second guess what the judge did here," Hanna said.
Attorney General Bill Sorrell, D-Vermont, is out of state until Sunday. But his deputy Scott Klein says the state is comfortable with the case it presented and respectfully disagrees with the judge's decision. The AG's office is now weighing the costs of an appeal and reviewing the ruling for appealable issues. But as of right now, no decision has been made. The state has 30 days to file an appeal.
Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:52 PM EDT2014-04-17 03:52:17 GMT
The Stowe Police Department is currently investigating the untimely death of two adults. Stowe Police responded to 262 Cady Hill Road at 4:38 p.m. and discovered deceased individuals. The Stowe PoliceMore >>
The Stowe Police Department is currently investigating the untimely death of two adults.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:49 PM EDT2014-04-17 03:49:04 GMT
Major flaws were uncovered in the Burlington School Budget that failed at the polls. An audit has discovered that the district was making huge errors when budgeting for next year. What this means, is thatMore >>
Major flaws were uncovered in the Burlington School Budget that failed at the polls. An audit has discovered that the district was making huge errors when budgeting for next year.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:53 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:53:47 GMT
Teamwork between a Montgomery farmer and a corporal with the Franklin Country sheriff's department may have saved a life when they pulled off a daring rescue. A woman became trapped in her truck tryingMore >>
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Wednesday, April 16 2014 7:00 PM EDT2014-04-16 23:00:55 GMT
After this week's whirlwind weather events and major flooding Tuesday, Governor Shumlin (D-Vermont), VTrans and state transportation officials held a news conference Wednesday to discuss the aftermath. ShumlinMore >>
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Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:02 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:02:05 GMT
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York. The governor made the declaration Tuesday night. It covers six counties in northeastern of New York, including two inMore >>
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:21 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:21:46 GMT
A body found near the North Hartland Dam appears to be that of a missing man from New Hampshire. Michael Hayward, 42, of Sunapee, disappeared two months ago. His car was found near the Quechee Gorge. PoliceMore >>
A body found near the North Hartland Dam appears to be that of a missing man from New Hampshire.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 7:14 PM EDT2014-04-16 23:14:24 GMT
Authorities say six people managed to escape a house fire in Plattsburgh Tuesday morning. First responders say when they arrived at 42 Smith Street, the house was completely engulfed in flames. CityMore >>
Authorities say six people managed to escape a house fire in Plattsburgh Tuesday morning. Police say the blaze was sparked by a child playing with a lighter.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:07 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:07:50 GMT
Police in Haverhill, N.H., say they got numerous calls about a young child walking down a road alone. They found the child about a mile from her home. She was brought back to the residence, but the NewMore >>
Police in Haverhill, N.H., say they found a young child alone about a mile from her home.More >>