Sanders Expects U.S. to Stay Out of Vermont Yankee Court Fight

Sen. Bernie Sanders learned today that the U.S. Department of Justice has no plans to intervene in a legal fight over the fate of the Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor at this time. 

Sanders had urged Attorney General Eric Holder to stay out of a lawsuit filed in federal court in Vermont by Entergy Corp. The plant owner sued after the Vermont Senate last year voted 26-to-4 not to renew a state license for the 40-year-old, problem-plagued reactor. 

"While I recognize that it is the responsibility of the Department of Justice to monitor developments in all ongoing litigation, I am pleased that they have no plans to intervene and I am confident that the Department will see no reason to intervene in the future," Sanders said.

"I want to thank Sen. Harry Reid for his strong support for the state of Vermont," Sanders added. "The Majority Leader is clearly in our corner on this issue and he has agreed to do everything he can to help me in this effort."

Sanders is a member of the U.S. Senate committee that oversees the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

He criticized the NRC earlier this month after learning that commissioners secretly voted 3 to 2 to urge the Department of Justice to intervene in the Vermont case. The senator also spoke with the attorney general and other top officials at the Justice Department.

"If Vermont chooses an energy future that does not include a 40-year-old, problem-ridden nuclear power plant and that emphasizes energy efficiency and sustainable energy, it is certainly our right and the federal government has no role to play in that decision," Sanders said.