Vernon retains lobbyists for VY


VERNON -- With the potential sale of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant looming, Vernon Selectboard members spoke with their lobbyists in executive session to get on the same page.

According to Selectboard Chairman Michael Courtemanche, Monday’s special meeting involved contractual matters with the town’s lobbying firm, Smith & Miller, LLP of Northfield, who has been retained to represent the town’s interests in the Statehouse.

The firm recently contacted Courtemanche after numerous reports Entergy Corp., the current owner of Yankee, has discussed possibly selling the 38-year-old nuclear facility to other interested parties. The lobbyists had questions and concerns about the potential sale and the upcoming legislative session.

"We’re waiting to get a contract from them, and we’ll go from there," he said. "The Selectboard hasn’t really discussed the potential sale or the impact of the sale for the next legislative session."

Because the conversation involved contractual matters, the Selectboard held a 30-minute non-public session before speaking to the Reformer. The specially scheduled meeting was designed by board members as an informational meeting where they needed clarification with the firm in moving forward with issues related to Vermont Yankee.

No action was taken in the executive session.

In 2008, the Selectboard approved the hiring of lobbyists to represent the town in Montpelier and keep an ear to the ground on any measure that may affect Vernon’s grand list and tax base, which includes Yankee. The board approved retaining Miller & Smith the following year for $15,000.

In February, the firm drafted a letter to the state Senate following the controversial 26 to 4 vote blocking Yankee’s license extension past March 2012, saying the legislation serves "no useful purpose."



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