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Public Service Board Says Abenaki Tribe Can Intervene In Vermont Yankee Hearings

The Associated Press
AP File Photo
The Public Service Board will open hearings on the proposed sale of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant on April 6 in Vernon.

The Public Service Board says the Missisquoi Abenaki Tribe can take part in the regulatory hearings for the proposed sale of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

There are four state-recognized Abenaki tribes in Vermont, and the Public Service Board on Friday said the Missisquoi Tribe can take part in the hearings for the proposed sale to the industrial demolition company NorthStar Holdings.

The board has already agreed to allow the Elnu Tribe, from southern Vermont, to intervene in the state hearings.

William Brotherton is a member of the Missisquoi Abenaki Tribal Council, and he says the northern tribe has a stake in the restoration of the Vernon site.

"We have been diligent in making sure that our sites up north are protected and preserved, and so we wanted to be part of this process," Brotherton said.

Entergy wants to sell the shuttered nuclear power plant to NorthStar, which says it can use VY's $570 million Decommissioning Trust Fund to clean up the site ahead of schedule, and for less money than Entergy would have spent.

The Public Service Board and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have to approve the sale.

In their response to the native tribe's request to intervene, Entergy and NorthStar said the Abenaki Nation's interests were not relevant to the case because the proposed sale does not address future potential uses of the Vernon site.

"Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee and NorthStar both support an open CPG process with public participation," Entergy Vermont Yankee Government Affairs Manager Joe Lynch said in an email message Monday. "We acknowledge the Board's ruling and our March 17 response speaks for itself."

The Public Service Board is allowing the Abenaki Nation to take part in the Certificate of Public Good hearings even though the group missed the deadline for filing its request to intervene.

In its ruling, the PSB said the sale could affect future uses of the site and that the impacts "fall within the particular interests" of the tribe.

The Vermont Public Service Department supported the Abenaki Nation's request to take part in the hearings.

The Public Service Board was supposed to open the VY hearing on March 14, but it was canceled due to a snowstorm that hit the region.

The PSB hearing is now set to open on April 6 in Vernon.

Howard Weiss-Tisman is Vermont Public’s southern Vermont reporter, but sometimes the story takes him to other parts of the state.
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