Yesterday, we joined the MA Downwinders and Cape Downwinders for the last leg of the March for the Children, from Dewey Square to the Statehouse in Boston. As we marched, I was reminded of how far the fight to shut down Vermont Yankee has come since our own Step It Up to Shut it Down walk from Brattleboro to Montpelier in January of 2010. When 300 walkers presented a petition at the VT Statehouse on that snowy day, we did not know that one month later the VT Senate would vote not to extend Yankee’s license by a vote of 26-4. We did not know that Yankee would continue to run past March 21, 2012 without its state permit, nor that the next day 1,500 citizens would take a day off from work to march to Occupy Entergy HQ. Nor that a few weeks later, Gov. Peter Shumlin and US Senator Bernie Sanders tell a crowd of 1,000 “SHUT IT DOWN“. And we certainly did not know that two weeks after winning its lawsuit to overturn the state legislatures’ right to vote on relicensing, Entergy would announce it would shut it down.
Our efforts from the January 2010 walk through the closure announcement in August 2013 were successful in part because citizens groups, large and small, worked together and presented a unified message: SHUT IT DOWN. Our messages to the legislature, in the streets, in direct action, at local town meetings, in OpEds, in public testimony, and in educational workshops was consistent.
There are many citizens’ groups on the mainland and on Cape Cod working on Entergy’s Pilgrim reactor. Some of them vow to shut it down while others say they work to “make it safer.” For example, from the Pilgrim Coalition:
dedicated to raising awareness of – and reducing – significant risks to public safety, health and our environment arising from the continued operation of Pilgrim
The Pilgrim reactor is on the NRC’s list of worst performing reactors. Its Clean Water Act permit expired 19 YEARS ago. Its emergency planning is a farce: when an accident occurs, both bridges to Cape Cod will be closed, trapping residents in a radiation zone while Plymouth residents flee. As former Gov. Michael Dukakis said yesterday, “But the fact of the matter, folks, is that it’s impossible to meet the federal standards for evacuation plans for any of these locations. It’s simply impossible.”
Yesterday, a dozen speakers give evidence that Pilgrim must shut down. Then Nancy Braus of Safe & Green got up to speak and the crowd went nuts. Nancy walked all four days with the Pilgrim activists. As she shared Yankee victory stories, one lesson was clear: to succeed, the citizens of Massachusetts must come together with one voice to shout from every town: Shut Pilgrim Down.
Just IMHO, by Leslie Sullivan Sachs, Safe & Green Campaign