"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.
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:49 PM EST2014-03-09 02:49:49 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:29 PM EST2014-03-09 02:29:17 GMT
A warning for pet owners in our region. Coyotes are on the prowl. A biologist in New Hampshire says he has received more than 10 calls recently, in the Keene, New Hampshire area, for a deer that was takenMore >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:21 PM EST2014-03-09 02:21:44 GMT
As spring approaches, many Vermont homeowners prepare to work on their houses - so they head to the Burlington Home Show. And many Vermont small business owners - with their products and services on displayMore >>
Many business owners at the Burlington Home Show say the new health care system in Vermont is helpful, but some say it's causing a real headache.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:07 PM EST2014-03-09 01:07:08 GMT
A rally at the State House in Montpelier Saturday. A passionate group of dozens of women, and men, assembled in front of the State House Saturday for the Women's March for Dignity. They were demandingMore >>
Women's March for Dignity say they are demanding lawmakers support paid sick day policies for all workers.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:21 AM EST2014-03-08 15:21:27 GMT
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries. They were injured while fighting a at the Bennett Farm on Route 15 on the Johnson-Cambridge town line. The fire started in a shed around 7:30 FridayMore >>
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:42 GMT
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury. They immediately took to Facebook after hearing about this fire and started planning to collectMore >>
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:05 GMT
Reporter: "What are some of the most common burn injuries that we see with kids coming into the hospital?" Jim Esdon, Dartmouth Hitchcock Injury Prevention Center: "This time of year, the glass frontedMore >>
We've had another cold week that's left homeowners cranking the heat. But what does that mean for kids' safety?More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:19 AM EST2014-03-08 15:19:21 GMT
Armed with just two L rods, 87-year-old John Wayne Blassingame starts looking for water by asking yes or no questions. "Does it go past 20 feet, does it go past 30 feet, yah," he says. The rods crossingMore >>
A national organization based in Danville says it is providing resources to people in desperate need to find water.More >>