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Voices / Letters from readers

VY land deserves to be more than a used industrial site

Some environmentalists, in reference to the current practices of factory farming, overfishing, and methods for energy extraction such as fracking, have called the Western industrialized view of the environment a war against nature.

This view applies to the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in Vernon as well. Over its 42-year history, tons of radioactive waste have been stored on the land there and the Connecticut River has been used as a repository for VY’s heat and waste.

In terms of environmental stewardship, VT has an opportunity to raise the bar on the endgame of the site.

The New England Coalition is concerned that the Vernon site, having apparently been written off as a used industrial site, is not being accorded appropriate respect and long-term vision. All of the radionuclides that polluted Chernobyl and Fukushima are present.

The NEC is advocating for intensified environmental stewardship of the land to protect the residents and the biotic community of the region for the next seven generations and will make sure the harbingers of genetic disease, cancers, and birth defects are reduced to levels as low as can practically be achieved.

NorthStar would leave 1{1/2} times more radioactive contamination onsite than what has been allowed at the other New England nuclear power plants. The NEC is also advocating that the standard that applied to these previous facilities be upheld in considering cleanup at the site. There is no reason Vermont deserves less.

The NEC also proposes that the best long-term outcome for the Vernon site would be to allow it to lie fallow as a nature preserve and to let it restore itself over time.

It is not only a place of great natural beauty but the site also is culturally and religiously significant to the Abenaki people, as it is the place of their ancient burial, dwelling, and ceremonial practices.

Ameila Shea

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Originally published in The Commons issue #429 (Wednesday, October 11, 2017). This story appeared on page E3.

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