When Entergy, the owners of Vermont Yankee, announced the layoff of roughly 35 workers, the enthusiasm that opponents expressed over this announcement added insult to injury. My name is Evan Twarog, and my father works at Vermont Yankee as a shift manager. Our family is concerned about these jobs, but even more worried about the possibility of the massive job loss should the facility be forced to shut down. Any job cuts, anywhere, are a tough hit to the surrounding region, especially to the families involved. Regardless of whether or not you support the facility, these layoffs will affect the local community.
This announcement comes shortly after the IBM announcement that its Essex Junction plant had laid off 419 employees. Gov. Peter Shumlin is quoted as saying that businesses in Vermont are eager to hire skilled workers that are being laid off from IBM. Does this apply to VY employees also? Regardless, the governor is fighting his own words by supporting skilled job creation while fighting for the shutdown of Vermont Yankee. Since he took office several years ago, the shutdown of the facility has been his priority. The actions of the state have often overstepped legal boundaries, as shown in federal court. By advocating for the shutdown of the facility, the state is fighting against the people they represent.
If the state wants economic expansion, it must recognize Vermont Yankee’s impact on the state’s economy. This facility contributes over $100 million to the local economy in wages alone. It must recognize that the 600-plus workers play a major part in our local community. It must recognize that Entergy donates heavily to over 100 local nonprofits each year. Finally, it must recognize that if it wishes to force all of these workers out of the state, fighting to shut down the facility is the perfect option.