UPDATED: PSB Gives Entergy a Dope Slap

12.4.12 UPDATE : Today the New England Coalition asked the VT Supreme Court to order Entergy to shut down Vermont Yankee. They want Yankee to “immediately cease and desist from nuclear power generation” until the PSB decides whether or not to grant them a certificate of public good. Why now? The PSB Order earlier this week (see below) gave the Coalition the opportunity. The Coalition says that by operating after 3.21.12 Entergy is violating the Sale agreement to shut down March 21st.

Yes, we activists have been saying this same thing for well over a year now. The wheels of justice turn slowly. In their “Complaint for Injunctive Relief”, the Coalition asked the VT Supreme Court to expedite their decision. Let us hope the Coalition succeeds, and we who live in the evacuation zone get some relief!

You can read the Coalition’s complaint on their website: www.newenglandcoalition.org/

For the PSB’s Order, scroll down to November 29 on their page of Recent PSB Orders

[11.29.12] The Public Service Board dope slapped Entergy in a 30 page Order this week. It’s exactly the dope slap the Car Talk guys would give to a teenaged driver, “Whack! Ya Dummy!”

In the 2002 Sale Order made when Entergy bought the reactor, it promised it wouldn’t operate past March 21, 2012 except to decommission, and it wouldn’t store any new fuel on site after March 21 either. On May 29th, 2012 some bright Entergy lawyer asked the PSB to change the Sale Order, since they’d been in violation for a couple months.  Entergy’s brief says “Geez, this is a huge surprise! We are shocked that we do not have a CPG by now! How could we have known? It’s all the legislature’s fault for slowing us down with that Senate voting thing. It’s really hard on us not to know what’s going to happen!”

The PSB was not amused. Of course, they say it politely (at first):

“…the conditions at issue should not have been a surprise to Entergy VY. Instead, we find that Entergy VY has shown no reason to have expected any other outcome. We also conclude that, although we recognize that the legislature took actions that changed the legal landscape, Entergy VY’s claimed hardship — the risks associated with operation after the deadline for termination set out in Condition 8 of the Sale Order [3.21.12 closure] — is in large part the result of tactical decisions Entergy VY made concerning legislative strategy, the timing of legal challenges, and the structure of its petition to the Board.”

In other words: its your own bad choices, kid. Whack! Ya Dummy. And that’s just page 2.

The PSB then goes on for another 28 pages rubbing it in. They say “you should have known” in every conceivable way. They spend five pages reminding Entergy of the Board’s power. They quote Entergy’s own attorneys and witnesses. They say it was your choice to sue the State of Vermont, and to wait 5 years after Act 160 was passed to do so. It was your choice to make “misstatements concerning underground pipes” bringing the whole case to a screeching halt. You asked us once before if you could run after March 21, and on March 19th we said no. “At that point, Entergy VY could have avoided hardship by complying with the Board’s Order … Instead, it voluntarily elected to continue operating Vermont Yankee… Any hardship Entergy VY faces is the result of choices it made…”

In other words — you could have just shut down.

And if you thought we’d let you keep on running, why didn’t you say so? We aren’t going to accuse you of hiding anything. You were being up front with us when you bought the place, weren’t you?

Or, in lawyer speak:

“… we would have to assume that Entergy’s witnesses and the representations in its briefs contained unstated caveats that effectively altered the meaning of the commitments. We decline to conclude that Entergy VY would fail to apprise the Board of material limitations on its commitments in 2002 when it was seeking approval for the sale transactions. Instead, we presume that Entergy VY’s 2002 representations were accurate. And we relied upon them in issuing the Sale Order.

One would never want to accuse a quasi-judicial body of being snide. Or sarcastic. But one could read both into the quote above.

They conclude:

… we do expect that Entergy VY’s compliance with our Orders and its willingness to abide by affirmative commitments in testimony and briefs will be relevant considerations in any decision the Board makes concerning modification of Entergy VY’s existing CPGs.

Entergy is now on notice that their past behavior will be taken into account when the PSB decides on their Certificate of Public Good. Whack!

AP Article     Rutland Herald article

VY is in a Tight Box – CLF Blog

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