Vermonters take sides as board debates state's nuclear future - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vermonters take sides as board debates state's nuclear future

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WILLISTON, Vt. -

The Public Service Board once again grapples with the continued operation of Vermont Yankee. Monday night, they heard from residents.

From Bennington to the Northeast Kingdom, about 80 Vermonters from all over the state packed into 13 conference rooms to discuss the nuclear plant's future. They made their case to members of the Vermont Public Service Board - who regulate utilities in the state.

"I see absolutely no public good in its license extension and operation going forward and instead see a wide range of serious problems that will most likely harm the good citizens of Vermont," said Huntington resident Wally Jenkins.

"I support the issue of issuing a certificate of public good to Vermont Yankee," said Bret Powell of Williston, "the opposition to Vermont Yankee can only be described as unsupported by history and facts."

Proponents of continued operation say the plant means jobs, stable power, and a low carbon footprint. "Vermont Yankee provides not only inexpensive power, it generates $100 million a year in economic benefits to the state," said Powell.

Opponents disagree about how green such a plant is, worry about its safety, and the trustworthiness of Vermont Yankee's operators. "Time and time again, this corporation has shown little regard for the truth and has lied and broken promises with the state," said Jenkins.

The plant's old license expired last March but federal regulators gave it the green light. Vermont challenged, and lost, in court. The state still has a say but can't base its decision on safety, forcing the Public Service Board to start over.

Public Service Board members say they hope to reach a decision by next fall. Should they decide not to issue a 'Certificate of Public Good' to Vermont Yankee, Entergy - the Louisiana based operators - could appeal to the state supreme court.

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