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Court Of Appeals Affirms In Part And Reverses In Part District Court Decision On Vermont Yankee

CONTACT: William H Sorrell, Attorney General, (802) 828-3173

August 14, 1013

Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part a federal district court decision that invalidated two Vermont statutes pertaining to continued operations of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. The appeals court affirmed the district court’s ruling that the two statutes are preempted by federal law, thus allowing the plant to continue operations at this time. The appeals court reversed the district court’s decision that the State imposed unconstitutional restrictions on the sale of power by the plant. The appeals court agreed with the State’s contention that Entergy’s claim was premature and without factual support. That ruling removes the basis for Entergy’s current claim that State taxpayers should reimburse Entergy for $4.62 million in attorney’s fees in addition to any fees incurred by Entergy during the course of this appeal. Attorney General William H. Sorrell said he is disappointed that the appeals court concluded that the legislative acts were preempted by federal law. He noted, however, that: “This is a good decision for Vermont taxpayers. Winning on the issue that triggered attorney’s fees saved Vermont millions of dollars.”

Attorney General Sorrell further noted that the important role of the Public Service Board was not affected by the court’s ruling. The court’s decision notes that the Board has statutory authority to consider issues such as “power generation stability, economic impact on the State, aesthetic and environmental issues, and likelihood of compliance with federal regulations” in deciding whether to grant Entergy’s pending application for a certificate of public good.

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