Friday, March 23, 2012

Vermont Yankee: Taking Back the Power

3/23 Update: More than 1,000 people turned up in Brattleboro on Thursday to march the 3.5 miles from the town common to Entergy’s offices at Vermont Yankee. Dozens trespassed on the company’s property and were arrested. Continue reading
Calling all citizens,

Defying the will of Vermonters, Entergy Nuclear has successfully won the first stage of its strategy to break its word and to usurp the authority of the Vermont legislature. 

In their negotiations to get permission to buy Vermont Yankee, corporate officials agreed to abide by future state statutes, and promised to forgo the right to sue the state over statutes that might be contrary to Entergy's interests. But they were lying, sued the state, and have won the first round in a federal court suit that reverses the state legislature's refusal to extend Vermont Yankee's operating license.

Judge J. Garvin Murtha effectively said that [contrary to prior Supreme Court rulings] the legislature has no authority to regulate the operation of the Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor. The Public Service Board is now the only state entity with the power to decide Yankee's future.

The judge also bought Entergy's argument that he should base his ruling not on the written legislation, but rather by retroactively reading the minds of the legislators to judge what they were thinking at the time.

This ruling goes hand in glove with current Federal policies that enrich the 1% and keep power firmly in the hands of large corporations. It affirms that corporate power and influence trump the interests of the citizenry. And it reinforces the notion that only the federal government can be trusted to keep us safe from radiological accidents caused by corporate malfeasance and profit-driven lax practices.

More significantly, the ruling should serve as the catalyst to spark Vermonters who have been watching the struggle from the sidelines to join the citizen effort to shut down VY before an accident shuts it down for us.

A majority of Vermonters know that Vermont Yankee has run its course and needs to be shut down, as originally licensed. Now is the time to turn to your neighbors.

With as few as five to ten friends, you can form an affinity group that takes non-violent training to help in the effort to shut down VY. You customize your affinity group to match the interests and willingness of its members, from pledging to engage in direct action/civil disobedience, to standing quietly on the sidewalk or organizing other actions. While a coalition of organizations IS working to coordinate these diverse efforts, don’t wait to engage in any way that seems appropriate to you.

Entergy has the judge's approval to continue operating past its March 21 close down date. But Vermont can (and may) appeal the decision, and the Public Service Board should be encouraged to deny a Certificate of Public Good.

But more important…

The region is mobilizing to descend upon Entergy's presence in southern Vermont and engage with a campaign of rallies, marches, direct action and political engagement to make it increasingly difficult for Entergy to conduct business as usual.


Civil disobedience and direct action will continue as needed. The State of Vermont will continue to assert its right to control the state’s energy generating future. But it needs the help of everyone. Only with a strong partnership of people power and government action can we assure victory over the entrenched interests of the money powered corporate oligarchy.

Starting now, every American who lives anywhere near an Entergy related establishment should know the truth about the company – and how they use their influence with the federal government (they brag about it on their website) to increase profits and deny the sovereign rights of communities and governments.

Together, we can take actions and create a narrative that resonates with people across the country and contributes to the growing political consciousness that the Occupy Movement has nurtured. Let’s keep up the momentum. The expiration date of Vermont Yankee’s license provides a sharp focus for the months ahead.

Contact for help organizing an affinity group and staying connected. Take back the power from federal overreach and take back Vermont from those who would put us all at risk for the sake of profit. The Arab Spring and the Occupy movement demonstrate the potential power of the people. When we stand by and watch, we often find ourselves in peril. When we assert our sovereign power we take the first step towards building a better future.

Never Violence, Only Victory.

The SAGE Alliance
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