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Attorney General Calls For Accurate Emissions Advertising

CONTACT: Elliot Burg, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-2153

March 11, 2009 - Citing the inaccuracy of past public claims of “zero emissions” by Entergy Corporation, Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell has called upon stakeholders in the public discussion of climate change to be clear, accurate and transparent in their statements about carbon emissions. “Global warming is a critical issue,” said Attorney General Sorrell. “The public needs good information in order to make decisions about how best to address this environmental challenge.”

In recent years, Entergy has run prominent advertisements in the Vermont media using the phrase “zero emissions” to describe its nuclear power. However, experts agree that while greenhouse gas emissions from the nuclear generation of electricity are negligible, such emissions—a major cause of global warming—do occur when uranium, the fuel used in nuclear reactors, is mined, processed and transported. Applying a “life cycle” analysis, nuclear power lies toward the lower end of the emissions continuum, but well above zero.

The Attorney General’s Office had voiced its concerns about the “zero emissions” ads to Entergy when the Vermont Public Interest Research Group asked the Office to investigate those and other Entergy claims last fall. Entergy has since acknowledged to the Attorney General that its “zero emissions” claims were inaccurate, and pledged not to use them again without a clear and accurate explanation of exactly what they mean.

According to Attorney General Sorrell, “All participants in the public debate on climate change policy should ensure that factual statements about carbon emissions clearly and truthfully specify what the emissions claims refer to. I am pleased that Entergy has agreed to do so in its future communications.”

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