Letter Box

Thurssday November 29, 2012

PSB should deny VY new certificate of public good

Editor of the Reformer:

The Public Service Board is holding hearings around Vermont seeking input for their docket on whether or not to grant Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant a new Certificate of Public Good to continue operating. The PSB should deny VY a new CPG for the following reasons: We cannot count on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to look out for our public good. Historically it has proven to be (1) of the nuclear industry; (2) by the nuclear industry; and (3) for the nuclear industry.

Nor can we count on VY's parent, Louisiana-based Entergy, to look out for our public good. Entergy's "fiduciary responsibility" is to make decisions that benefit their shareholders. This has meant deferring maintenance, postponing major equipment replacements, and ignoring the rising but impending costs of decommissioning. Entergy subsequently filed suits against the State of Vermont and the Public Service Board to try to reverse a decision they had previously agreed to and demanding that Vermont taxpayers cover their legal fees.

We cannot count on Vermont Yankee to enhance our public good since they have not even proposed a competitive energy price acceptable to our utilities.

We have counted on the Vermont legislature, and the VT Senate examined closely Entergy's corporate record. The Senate deemed that record was not conducive to the public good and, reflecting the expressed will of the majority of Vermonters, voted to reject PSB approval of a Certificate of Public Good for VY.

We could not count on the courts to look out for Vermont's public good. Federal Judge Gavin Murtha's pro-VY decision in the case Entergy brought against the state was based on inference - what Entergy said the legislators were thinking when they voted - rather than on the written legislative record. Murtha's decision is being appealed, but meanwhile Murtha returned the CPG decision back to the PSB; hence, the PSB docket and public hearings.

I ask the PSB to value the constitutional concept of States Rights and respect the Vermont legislative decisions; examine the history of Entergy's corporate behavior; and following the precepts of its own mission statement deny Vermont Yankee a new Certificate of Public Good.

Betsy Eldredge,

Springfield, Nov. 25

More on Co-op Power of Southern Vermont

Editor of the Reformer:

Thanks so much for your coverage of the new "solar roof"/solar electric array as part of your "Officials hail new Brattleboro Co-op, housing" article (Nov. 12). The members of Co-op Power of Southern Vermont are justifiably very proud of our work to make that array of photovoltaic panels happen and to contribute to the energy efficiency and renewable energy aspects of the new Brattleboro Food Co-op. The coverage was disappointing to us in one respect in that it did not emphasize the strong local component of Co-op Power of Southern Vermont. Co-op Power, whose central office as you mentioned is in Western Massachusetts, is made up of local, sub-regional organizing councils supported by the common central office. We, the volunteer members of the Southern Vermont local organizing council, have a strong say in choosing the energy projects our membership fees are invested in. We consciously chose the solar roof project in order to work with and support a sister cooperative, the Food Co-op, and to make a statement that roof-top solar is very viable in downtown Brattleboro.

Our membership in Co-op Power of Southern Vermont is made up almost entirely of people from Southern Vermont. This includes the two of us as co-coordinators, who live in Putney and Brattleboro respectively. (Neither of us is paid for this role.) Our 10-person local steering group is overwhelmingly from Brattleboro, Marlboro and Putney.

The solar roof project has been financed through a combination of membership fees, member loans, federal and state grants, and an interim loan from Equity Trust that was lined up by steering group member Alice Maes from Putney. It is that interim loan that we want to "buy down" through the equity from membership fees of new members. Since our intent is to use any net proceeds from this solar roof system to invest in other community-owned projects in Southern Vermont, the more we can replace higher cost money with lower cost money, the more quickly we can start in on new projects.

The reason many people join our energy co-op is for the consumer energy benefits available for home use, ranging from group fuel purchasing to reduced prices on solar equipment, window quilts and other products. As you mentioned, our website (www.cooppower.coop) gives more details. People who join, however, also know that their member fees will go toward community- owned energy projects like the new solar roof. We hope many more local people want to join us as part owners of the solar roof and similar future projects as well as to benefit themselves in their own homes.

Thanks again for stopping to talk to us at the grand opening event. Our members feel great that our solar system is part of this new building that is so important to Brattleboro.

Tom Simon, Putney, Michael Bosworth, Brattleboro,


Co-op Power of Southern Vermont, Nov. 12

Town official stepped over the line

Editor of the Reformer:

An open letter to Tim Cullenen, Rockingham/ Bellows Falls Town Manager: I attended the Nov. 13 Bellows Falls Trustee meeting and was struck dumb by your behavior. As a town manager it is expected there will be folks you do not like or you find difficult to deal with in your role as town/village manager, but as a supposed professional and a servant of the public, it is your duty to treat those people appropriately.

Your behavior that night toward Jim Mitchell was totally unacceptable, rude, mean and hurtful. Your disdain for him was palpable. You would not look at Mr. Mitchell and spoke to him through the village president in a loud and angry voice when you didn't like what he was saying. I might have been able to accept that, but when you belittled, humiliated and denigrated Mr. Mitchell by (very loudly and angrily) telling the president to "explain to Mr. Mitchell, very slowly and in small words ..." you stepped way over the line.

I have also witnessed your anger at other meetings and your inability to be civil, not only to members of the public, but even to your own trustees. If you haven't considered anger management, I suggest you do so, and at your expense, not the taxpayers.

Judy Lidie,

Bellows Falls, Nov. 14


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