Vermont is among the highest-ranked states in the country for air quality, something Vermonters are proud of. The operation of Vermont Yankee has played a major role in this accomplishment, displacing more than 69 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering our air since it came online in 1972.
After Tropical Storm Irene hit Vermont last year, Gov. Shumlin was quoted as saying that we need to get off fossil fuels as soon as we know how (Democracy Now, August 29, 2011). Vermont’s Legislature continues to ignore the clean energy produced by Vermont Yankee and refuses to include it into Vermont’s energy future. These politically-driven efforts will slow our withdrawal from fossil fuels even more.
The Rutland Herald recently reported that the amount of US electricity generated from coal plants is forecast to drop this year, and fall even further by the end of this decade (“Coal use falling fast; utilities switching to gas,” June 13). The gap from lowering our usage of coal will be filled by natural gas, but natural gas is a fossil fuel and will not solve climate change.
As the country phases out coal we will need more affordable, reliable electricity than ever. Nuclear is all of these things, plus clean. If Gov. Shumlin’s rhetoric about global warming is sincere and Vermont’s clean air is a priority in the governing of our state, then our Legislature would recognize Vermont Yankee as a necessary contributor to the health of Vermont and the well-being of Vermonters.