Story updated on Saturday, Sept. 8
Originally published in The Commons issue #168 (Wednesday, September 5, 2012).
BRATTLEBORO—A flotilla of watercraft, ranging from kayaks to motorboats, was to converge on the Connecticut River near the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon on Saturday, Sept. 8, until high winds and thunderstorms forced the event to be postponed.
The Safe and Green Campaign and the SAGE Alliance, the sponsors of the protest to call attention to what they say is excessive discharges of heated water into the river, rescheduled the event to Saturday, Sept. 15.
Protesters will gather at the Prospect Street Boat Launch in Hinsdale, N.H., near the Fort Hill Rail Trail, starting at 11 a.m. There will be a rally at 12:30 p.m., followed by a boat launch at 1 p.m.
Speakers scheduled to appear include Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC) River Steward and Vermont State Rep. David Deen, D-Westminster; Christian Parenti, a contributing editor for The Nation, who frequently writes on nuclear issues; and Deb Katz, executive director of the Citizens Awareness Network.
According to the Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC), Vermont Yankee regularly discharges millions of gallons of heated water into the Connecticut River. The water, which is used to cool the plant’s reactor, enters the river at temperatures as high as 105 degrees.
The CRWC says that data gathered by Entergy Vermont Yankee, the plant’s owners, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service shows that Entergy has routinely exceeded the temperature limits that are allowed under its water discharge permit.
This plume of warm water, according to the CRWC, has negatively affected fish habitat and greatly reduced the shad population in the Connecticut River.
Entergy says it is operating VY in compliance with state and federal laws regarding water discharge. The plant’s original permit has expired, but it is still operating under the original permit’s terms.
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