February 22nd, 2010

Douglas Firmly Embraces Nothingness

by Philip Baruth

In advance of this week’s vote on re-licensing Vermont Yankee, Jim Douglas sought to set expectations. Last Thursday, in fact, he set expectations at precisely zero: “It’s important to talk about what this vote means. In a word: nothing.” What the Governor apparently meant is that a State Senate in the not-too-distant future could always reverse this week’s decision, whatever it may be. True.


And too, Douglas went on to forecast litigation, directly implying that if the State wants to avoid a crippling lawsuit, it should simply cede Entergy what Entergy wants, and be done with it.

But that word nothing is haunting.

The implication is that no one can match the power of the Governor and Entergy working in concert. No one, and no thing. Not Senators, not voters, not no one.

And in that light, it’s interesting to consider this: in April Yankee is scheduled to install new fuel rods at a cost of millions, fuel rods that last about 4.5 years and which cannot be transferred once installed. Almost as though the 2012 relicensing issue didn’t exist.

Very much business as usual.

Both Yankee and Douglas seem very confident that this particular can will continue to be kicked down the road for a very long time. Both seem confident of a more pliable Senate and a properly biddable Governor going forward.

And let’s face it, friends, only vast amounts of money breed that sort of confidence, especially in the wake of the safety failures of the last several years.

Still, it’s breathtaking when the Governor himself comes out and says it out loud, in front of God and everyone. When he says that the voter’s most powerful representatives in Montpelier have no power whatsoever, given the current state of corporate play.

Absolutely breathtaking.