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Local Community Has Mixed Reaction To Closing of Vermont Yankee

With today’s announcement about the closure of Vermont Yankee, residents in Windham County say the news is a mixed bag.

Some in the local community welcomed the news, while others are worried.

Besides generating electricity, Vermont Yankee also fuels the local economy. Laura Sibilia of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation said the closing is disheartening after years of a poor economy on top of the injuries from Tropical Storm Irene.

“It’s a little like, oooh! Enough with the body blows please!’”

Patrick Moreland, Brattleboro Town Manager predicted a number of the employees who will be losing their jobs won’t be sticking around.

“They’re not  going to be buying their cars here and they’re not going to be  going out to restaurants here,” said Moreland. “And so you know it’s making a difficult economy more difficult.”

Pat Moulton Powden, also from the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, predicted the closing will be a big blow to Windham County. Besides the job losses she points out it may also hurt local nonprofits that Entergy and its workers contribute to.

“Employees who very likely donate to the local United Way, Human Society etc,” said Moulton Powden. “That’s the ripples that come. There’s clearly a direct impact from the loss of jobs, but those are the ripples.”

But other people had a different reaction

“I’m very happy about it. It’s great!”

That’s Visiting Nurse Jennifer Carroll, who is wheeling a cart of groceries outside the Brattleboro Food Coop. Carroll acknowledged Entergy is very generous with its donations to charities, but she’s glad the plant is closing

“That’s going to make Vermont a lot safer  for all the children and  people that live in this area.”

Steve Levine from Williamsville agreed.

“I think its a good thing for the community,” said Levine. “Certainly immediately it’s a bad thing for the people who work there, but we need  to move forward and find better sources of energy to have a future.  And I can’t wait until the end of next year when that thing is shut down.”

With the closing coming, people who are working on economic development in the region say they plan to step up their efforts to mitigate the impact.

Nancy Cohen covers southern Vermont's recovery from Tropical Storm Irene. Her work is supported by the VPR Journalism Fund.
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