Justice Department Confirms it Won't Intervene in Vermont Yankee Lawsuit

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders today welcomed official confirmation by the U.S. Department of Justice that it would not intervene in a lawsuit in federal district court over the future of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

The plant owner, Louisiana-based Entergy Corp., sued the state of Vermont after the Vermont Senate last year voted 26 to 4 not to renew a state license for the 40-year-old reactor.

"I appreciate the Justice Department's decision," Sanders said. "Vermont has a right to choose an energy future that emphasizes energy efficiency and sustainable energy and does not include an aging, problem-plagued nuclear power plant. The federal government has no role to play in that decision."

Sanders is a member of the U.S. Senate committee that oversees the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Saying that the NRC's jurisdiction is limited to reactor safety, Sanders upbraided the NRC in June after learning that commissioners secretly voted to urge the Justice Department to intervene in the Vermont case. Sanders noted that Chairman Gregory Jaczko had stated there was no federal stake in the case. He also urged Attorney General Eric Holder to stay out of the legal fight.

Sanders said on June 30 that he was confident the Justice Department would see no reason to intervene.