VERNON—In an event organized by the SAGE Alliance timed to coincide with Independence Day celebrations, 40 protesters were arrested at the gates of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant on Sunday.
The action, which began with a short rally on the Brattleboro Common, also featured a bicycle procession to the Vernon plant owned by Entergy Corp., busloads of protesters, and a 15-foot tall Trojan Cow.
The 600-pound sculpture, designed by Vermont sculptor Ria Blaas, was wheeled to the gate by protesters. It contained miniature solar panels and wind turbines.
According to Deb Katz, executive director of the Citizens Awareness Network, “citizens will return again and again” to the plant “until Entergy shuts down and safely decommissions Vermont Yankee.”
This was the first major anti-nuclear protest in Vernon since the end of March, when Vermont Yankee began operating under a new 20-year license extension authorized by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The ongoing Entergy v. Vermont case continues to make its way through the federal courts, as the two sides argue over whether the state has the legal authority to close Vermont Yankee down.
The Vermont Public Service Board is about to open a new hearing on whether Entergy can receive a Certificate of Public Good from the state. A final decision is not expected until next year.
“While Entergy wields its temporary power in court, citizens will continue to demonstrate our actual power on the streets. We are not going away until Entergy closes up and cleans up,” said Bob Bady of the Safe & Green Campaign.
According to organizers, about 300 people showed up at the VY gates to show support for the people who were arrested by Vermont State Police for crossing a rope line set up in front of the gates. The protesters were taken into custody, transported by bus to be processed at the Putney Fire Station. All were later released and cited to appear in Windham District Court at a later date.
The SAGE Alliance plans another VY protest on Aug. 18, a flotilla on the Connecticut River near the plant. Organizers say the aquatic action is designed to raise awareness about the effects of thermal discharge pollution from VY into the river.