Smith decries proposed VY trust-fund use

VERNON — House Speaker Shap Smith is asking Vermont Yankee owner Entergy to reconsider its proposed use of the plant's trust fund for property tax payments.

Entergy has notified the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it intends to withdraw up to $6.6 million from the trust fund; a company spokesman said $1.2 million of that total will be used to pay property taxes.

Vermont officials have protested several of Entergy's planned trust-fund uses, worrying that too many withdrawals will hinder site cleanup and redevelopment.

“I am deeply concerned that Entergy has proposed to tap the decommissioning trust fund to pay its bills,” said Smith, a Morrisville Democrat and a Democratic candidate for governor in 2016.

“The decommissioning fund was established for the sole purpose of paying for the cleanup and restoration of the grounds where Vermont Yankee operated,” Smith said in a prepared statement issued Oct. 29. “As speaker, I have repeatedly cautioned against misuse of this resource. Entergy's proposal undermines the fund's purpose and threatens to delay the restoration of the Vernon nuclear site. I call on Entergy to reconsider its position and stop raiding the fund to pay its bills.”

Entergy has said its trust-fund use is in compliance with NRC regulations, though the NRC still is reviewing the company's proposed withdrawals.

The state could object to the tax payments via the NRC, which has the authority to halt Entergy's withdrawals. Vermont Public Service Department Commissioner Chris Recchia has said state officials are considering their options.

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