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May 18, 2011

Antinuclear Group Denied Intervention in Entergy Case

VTYankee A federal court judge late Tuesday denied the antinuclear group New England Coalition's petition to intervene in Entergy's lawsuit against the state of Vermont.

NEC filed a motion two weeks ago in U.S. District Court. In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge J. Garvan Murtha said NEC's concerns are "adequately represented" by the state.

"The motion is denied because NEC’s interest in this case is adequately represented by the Attorney General, representing the State of Vermont, which shares NEC’s ultimate objective in upholding the constitutionality of Vermont’s statutory and regulatory scheme governing the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant," wrote Murtha in his ruling.

"Indeed, NEC has not explained how its views would diverge from those of Vermont," Murtha added. "It professes its interest is 'to ensure that the Vermont Yankee plant is not relicensed,' and concedes 'Vermont appears to have accepted NEC’s position, and decided that the continued operation of this plant in our State is not in the public good.'"

Murtha will allow NEC to file an amicus brief, or as a so-called "friend of the court" brief, by May 31. In his ruling Murtha even welcomed the amicus filings, writing that the briefs often bring attention to issues otherwise not raised by the main parties.

In a separate ruling, Murtha denied motions by the Conservation Law Foundation and the Vermont Public Interest Research Group to reject Entergy's motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent the state from shutting Vermont Yankee down in March 2012. He did invite CLF and VPIRG to file amicus briefs on Entergy's request for a preliminary injunction.

Murtha has not yet ruled on CLF and VPIRG's motion to intervene, though it seems pretty clear from his denial of NEC that it's unlikely he'll grant them intervenor status either.

In his ruling, Murtha noted that he feared allowing NEC to intervene would likely delay the expedited schedule he established to hear the case.

A VPIRG spokesman seemed unfazed by the court defeat, noting that the environmental group was prepared to support Vermont's defense in any way Judge Murtha allows.

"We're looking forward to participating in whatever way we can to help defend the state against Entergy's litigation.  Whether that's as an intervenor or 'friend of the court' we'll do our best to help uphold the laws of our state," said Paul Burns, VPIRG's executive director.

A CLF spokeswoman said her group was disappointed in the ruling, but glad to see that Murtha finds value in amicus filings.

"We are disappointed CLF & VPIRG will not be fully participating at this early stage. It is encouraging that the court recognized the value of having additional information," said CLF attorney Sandra Levine. "We are pleased to participate in any way that helps the Court decide this very important case."

NEC and Entergy officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Hearings on the merits of Entergy's entire lawsuit — whether Vermont has legal authority to effectively shut the plant down in 2012 — are slated to be held in October. Murtha set aside June 23 and 24 to hear arguments on Entergy's injunction request.

Download NEC ruling: Download 33 Order re NEC intervention 5-17-11

Download CLF/VPIRG ruling: Download 34 Order re CLF&VPIRG

It's about time someone told these special interest groups to butt out. File a friend of the court brief and then go away.

"VPIRG spokesman seemed unphased by the court defeat"

They're hard to phase, 'tis true. Fortunately they can fall back on their core business: holding up projects to relieve traffic congestion, create jobs and increase affordable housing.

oooooof. Thanks for calling us out Tim, I've fixed it.


Anyone want to bet how many of the 3 groups Greenberg belongs to? I'm going with two, NEC and VPIRG

The fact that these three extremist groups ever actually thought they should be allowed to, or ever really had a chance to, intervene in a private lawsuit between Entergy and the State, by itself raises serious questions about their understanding and judgment. Do they even understand that a courtroom is not just another form of political rally? It seems not.

This lawsuit isn't town meeting, or a legislative debate, or a protest march on Church Street, where every schmoe with an opinion can stand up and say whatever ill-informed or irrelevant thing he wants to. It isn't a free-for-all debate about the pros and cons of nuclear power. It isn't about whether anyone likes Entergy. It's a court process where the parties are narrowly defined (Entergy and the State of Vermont); where the ONLY legal issue is whether Vermont is violating the NRC's exclusive jurisdiction to regulate nuclear safety; where only RELEVANT evidence is admitted; and where a legal, not political, decision will be made by an independent judge, not a politician.

Thank god for the independent federal judicial system, and thank god that it's one branch of government that NEC, CLF, and VPIRG can't own the way they own the Governor's office and the Legislature.

Wrong as usual, JCarter.

Here's a geeky article about the potential for new nuclear reactors, including the so-called 'pebble bed" design and one that design that could be used to produce cheap hydrogen gas to supply cars and homes with a clean heating fuel.

Nobody can imagine a future Vermont where the nuke plant provides electrity and hydrogen to a green economy.

This is going to be my next car

John Greenberg "Wrong as usual, JCarter"

So all 3?

Nope. Still wrong.

"OTTAWA—Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper addressed growing public concerns about the safety of his country's maple syrup reactors Thursday, reassuring citizens that the sucrose fission facilities posed little risk of failure and there was absolutely no reason to be concerned.",20511/?utm_source=recentnews

In yet another turn of events that makes zero sense by Mary Powell and GMP, Green Mtn Power has reached a deal to buy 20% of their power from a Nuclear Power Plant..... in NH.

What's more, "Powell said the deal is also consistent with the utility's efforts to provide highly reliable electricity from "low carbon" sources. "

Um, yup. So much for buying local, helping VT workers and VT businesses. Just goes to show you that the opposition over VY is pure spite and hatred for Entergy.

Nuclear power is green if it comes from Vernon, but NH Nuclear power is.... go figure.

Nice scoop JC. Can we get a post from you Shay about the Seabrook deal? Seabrook actually has a cooling tower so you can accurately use the diapered old man cartoon.

Proof of high levels of radiation in Kashiwa Playground(26km from central Tokyo)

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