To: The Vermont State House
EMINENT DOMAIN OVER VERMONT YANKEE
In accordance with legal precedents and the Brattleboro EMDOVY Resolution to properly assess the decommissioning costs and close the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant for our economy and our health, we people of Vermont hereby urge our state legislators to initiate a feasibility study on taking the plant by eminent domain.
Why is this important?
CONTROVERSIAL ANTINUKE MEASURE CALLS FOR LEGISLATURE TO START EMINENT DOMAIN AGAINST WIDELY MISTRUSTED OWNER-CORPORATION OF AILING NUKE PLANT. WIDE VOTE MARGIN SHOWS PEOPLE READY TO TAKE THE GLOVES OFF
The measure, approved 2387 to 1826 in Brattleboro last November, was submitted by the group EMDOVY (eminent domain over Vermont Yankee), proposes the state legislature study eminent domain in order to force the nuclear power plant near Brattleboro to close and fully pay its cleanup costs. For eminent domain the state must evaluate the plant, subtracting the cleanup as a liability from the value of the plant. With an honest evaluation of the cleanup, and the plant set for closing, the plant’s owners could even end up owing money to the state. As things stand now the owner of VY, Entergy Corporation, has written the only public assessment of the cleanup costs, and Governor Shumlin, who wants to "hold Entergy's' feet to the fire" on cleanup costs, will have no fire unless the legislature begins the study of eminent domain.
The cleanup funds for similar plants were underestimated by five hundred million to one billion dollars each and the owners were allowed to pass these costs to the ratepayers. Bob Stannard, an antinuclear lobbyist in Montpelier, says “It is very clear that Vermont taxpayers will be on the hook if no citizen action is taken.” Recent court rulings, notably Kelo vs New London, CT, have upheld the application of eminent domain for economic benefit as opposed to general public utility, as is conventional in the taking of land for reservoirs, and roads, etc; and so this case could be taken as a precedent to protect the economy of Vermont from the threat of VY's immense cleanup costs. It may also develop into a useful tool for communities to use against abusive corporations.
On September 8, 2010 the Superior Court in Newfane ruled that the Brattleboro selectboard had illegally removed the resolution from the town ballot. The Brattleboro board had recently failed to stop another citizen initiative and was resoundingly rebuked in a special election on that matter. The court's decision was not only an advance for the anti-nuclear cause, but according to EMDOVY attorney Paul Gillies the court’s specific interpretation of case law would reverse an undemocratic trend of Vermont selectboards blocking public initiatives. After the court decision the Brattleboro selectboard board relinquished its right to appeal the decision and agreed to put the measure on the ballot. At the same meeting EMDOVY spokesman Kurt Daims announced new legislation for the town to effectively to divest itself of the nearby power plant by purchasing electricity only from renewable sources like the widely available CVPS program Cow Power. With the wide margin approving the EMDOVY resolution, the Nuclear Divestment proposal had good momentum at the representative town meeting in March and was placed on the agenda for November as an ordinance. Together EMDOVY and Nuclear Divestment take the offensive against nuclear power.
Kurt Daims, Spokesman 802 257 4995
Sally Shaw, technical expert 413 863 4992
Paul Gillies, attorney for civil rights issues 802 223 1112 x 103