Everyone agrees Windham County must get the biggest local bang for the buck from the Vermont Yankee settlement. With $2 million per year for five years ($10 million total) ready to be unleashed, that bang could – and should – be pretty big. The state of Vermont hearing set for July 10 in Brattleboro will provide more direction about how the money will be allocated, and to whom.
The state of Vermont development officials overseeing the fund seem committed to local public engagement. While attending a June 3 public hearing on the grant/loan application process in Townshend, I heard several Vernon and Brattleboro residents say many interested people from their respective towns were unaware of the hearing held 40 miles away in the northern end of the county. In response, the state several days later announced an extension of the public comment period.
Vermont Yankee has been a “public good” for over 40 years because its payroll, local and state government revenue, and volunteerism have powered southeastern Vermont’s quality-of-life engine. At peak operation, Vermont Yankee pays about $89 million in payroll and $15 million in state and local revenue. The transparent, prudent distribution of this generous $10 million economic redevelopment “severance package” should help the county get back on its feet.
Communications Director, Vermont Energy Partnership