On VY decision
Editor of the Reformer:
I am one of the many Vermonters who is angry and saddened, but not surprised by the ability of the federal judiciary to pervert the law in favor of corporate interests. Entergy’s victory in its lawsuit against the state of Vermont is an example of conservative judges asserting corporate control over our state.
The basis of both the U.S. District Court’s ruling and the Second Circuit’s backing of that ruling is not that the Vermont Legislature passed an unconstitutional bill, but that the Legislature either discussed safety or, even more insidious, couched their concern for constituent safety in the talk about other issues such as the environment and the economics of Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. This ruling is just wrong. How is it legal for a large, out-of-state corporation to dictate the language that our legislators can use in creating a body of laws? Will this be a template the courts will use to censor other elected bodies who challenge big business?
The basic, underlying fact of nuclear power is that it poses a tremendous risk to the population in surrounding communities. Only nuclear energy is exempt from commercial liability insurance, needs an evacuation plan, sirens, and drills, and creates tons of waste that is the most toxic substance on earth. The United States Congress delegates the right to regulate safety to the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, industry insiders who have little or no concern for local reactor communities. Where does the law state that the elected representatives who actually care about our welfare are not allowed to voice their concerns about the dangerous aging reactor in our corner of the state?
Our citizen legislators passed Act 160 because there are many reasons that closing Vermont Yankee in March, 2012, was the right thing to do. The serious damage of thermal pollution to the Connecticut River, the economics of hosting an aging nuke, the state’s planned move toward renewable energy, tritium leaks and the many problems with Entergy’s ownership of the plant, are a few reasons for supporting closure. This was a good law, and should have been able to stand unchallenged.
The District Court’s ruling was so flawed that the appeal was the only route toward justice. The state has not wasted resources, as the appeal was an attempt to make right a horrible wrong. In the United States, and worldwide, big-energy companies are responsible for much damage to the earth. Entergy is one of these culprits; the state has been courageous and on the right side of history in trying to end a dangerous and obsolete technology.
Putney, Aug. 18
It will get worse
Editor of the Reformer:
Jobs in this country are hard to come by.
Half the products sampled yesterday in a visit to a new Windham County chain store were made in China, of cheap quality but apparently according to American corporate specifications. Others, of unknown origin, were simply "distributed in the US."
Things might get worse. According to the August issue of Hightower Lowdown, a proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership would enable foreign corporations to bid on any federal purchase. U.S. food safety regulations could be ruled as illegal trade barriers. Our Department of Energy would be unable to regulate exports of fracked natural gas. Any failure to realize "expected profits" overseas could be appealed to an international TPP tribunal.
Some 600 corporate executives are secretly working on the proposed law, most of which actually has nothing to do with trade. If the writers get their way, pharmaceutical patents would be lengthened, generics delayed, and many bulk drug purchases by our government would be prohibited. Any chance to renew "Glass-Steagall" requirements in order to separate consumer and investment banking functions would be stymied. Internet freedoms would be curtailed. Certain corporate copyright privileges would exceed a hundred years. Governments would be obliged to open public service sectors to private corporations.
This post-NAFTA madness certainly warrants the label of corporate coup d’etat. President Obama in fact could actually sign the treaty before submitting it to Congress "for implementation."
Other NAFTA-like proposals such as this one have been stopped. Please check hightowerlowdown.org for details.
Alan O. Dann,
Marlboro, Aug. 21
The face of hate?
Editor of the Reformer:
Cheers to the Reformer for publishing Fred Morrison’s letter ("On anti-Semitism," Aug. 16). It shows our community what the cunning face of hate looks like. It is pointless for me to respond to anything he writes because it is so misinformed and filled with vitriol. However, the letter teaches us an important lesson -- the danger of being a bystander.
The paper’s public forum is an excellent example for allowing our community to air disagreements and for readers to make judgments in the best interest of democracy.
Wilmington, Aug. 21