Vermont Wins First Round In Yankee Legal Battle
07/18/11 5:04PM By John Dillon  Download MP3
(Host) A federal judge has handed the state of Vermont a first-round victory in its legal battle over the shutdown of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.
VPR's John Dillon reports:
(Dillon) Entergy Vermont Yankee wanted a quick, preliminary decision from the court because it said it faced a deadline at the end of this week on buying fuel for the nuclear power plant.
But U.S. District Judge J. Garvan Murtha ruled that Entergy had not shown that it would suffer irreparable harm. He said a trial in the case will be held in September, when he will consider Entergy's argument that federal law trumps the state's authority over Vermont Yankee.
Attorney General Bill Sorrell said he was pleased by the ruling.
(Sorrell) "The judge didn't buy that Entergy would suffer irreparable harm if they didn't get this injunction. Now at the same time, he reinforces the fact that it's set for an early trial date and we'll get a decision on the merits well in advance of the end of next March."
(Dillon) Sorrell says he recognizes that the state still faces more hurdles. But he says this was an important win.
Entergy wants the court to throw out a state statute that gives Vermont control Yankee's continued operation.
The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission has granted Yankee a 20 year license extension. But last year - after disclosures that the plant had leaked radioactive material - the Vermont Senate rejected Yankee's request for a new license.
For VPR News, I'm John Dillon in Montpelier.
(Host) Entergy says in a statement that it's disappointed in the decision. The company says it will evaluate the ruling in the next few days before it decides what to do next.