FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Direct Action Versus Entergy’s Nukes

by DAN DeWALT

Newfane, VT .

A classic David vs. Goliath battle is taking shape in the courtroom and in the streets and fields of Vermont as Entergy Nuclear of Louisiana tries to overturn Vermont law in the federal courts.

The state has thoughtfully and repeatedly voted no to the extension of Entergy’s Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor’s license, which is due to expire on March 21, 2012. Results of Town Meeting votes, a 26-4 vote by the Vermont Senate, and a pivotal gubernatorial race all have shown that the state does not see Vermont Yankee as a reliable or economical partner for its energy future. Forty years’ accumulation of radioactive waste on the banks of the Connecticut River is enough.

Entergy was stunned when their corps of high-priced lobbyists failed to prevail at the statehouse, but they are counting on their high-powered legal team to carry the day for them in the favorable atmosphere of the federal court system–packed as it is these days with judges named by Reagan and two Bushes. And even though the Supreme Court claims to support the concept of states’ rights, it is not clear that that bias will over-ride their love for corporate personhood/rights. Meanwhile, their distaste for so many things that Vermont, (as personified by its socialist Senator Bernie Sanders), stands for and represents are likely to override any professed passion for states’ rights, which tend to coincide with right-wing issues. So although the state government has taken all appropriate action (and continues to do so in the courts), it ultimately may have to be the power of the citizens who will have to shut down this leaky, decrepit reactor as scheduled.

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu made clear on NPR what it is that citizens need to do, when he explained that the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump project was abandoned because of “concerted, growing, local opposition”.

Vermonters are not taking a wait-and-see approach. With their neighbors from New Hampshire and Massachusetts, they are organizing a movement. They promise to close down the plant by direct action if it continues to operate past March 21, 2012. Activists are discovering that support for direct citizen action is growing throughout the region. From senior citizens to harried single moms, people are volunteering and vowing to get arrested or whatever else it will take to close down the reactor. Non-violent civil disobedience training sessions are being conducted throughout the region and organizers are working in a variety of ways to build a region-wide movement.

 

The September 17th Positively Charged Music Festival is just one manifestation of that effort. In order to bring thousands of people together to sign up for and support the coming campaign of direct action, seven well known bands from three states are gathering near the Vermont Yankee evacuation zone for a day of music and truth telling.

The entire event is the beneficiary of volunteer labor, from the music, to the sound, publicity, website, graphic design, even the contractors building the stage. This concert is the product of a community working together to take back our power. This community will continue to grow. And it will be of sufficient size to ensure that Vermont Yankee shuts down as scheduled.

Our friends in New York are battling the Indian Point reactor, a similarly rickety, leaking nuclear facility just north of New York City on the Hudson River that is well past its sell-date and whose owner is attempting to extend its license.

The ongoing serial meltdowns at Fukushima in Japan were a huge wake-up call. So was the recent 5.8 earthquake in Virginia, which exposed the fact that many U.S. reactors were not built to survive even relatively small tremors.

Across the entire nation, from New Jersey to California, reactors are leaking tritium and strontium 90, cracking, and contaminating their environments. This is a national issue now being played out on the Vermont stage. We are one part of the fight against the rule of corporate greed, just like our neighbors in New York and Pennsylvania, who are battling the insanity of the gas fracking, or citizens from across the land who are battling local ills that arise from the obscene imbalance of wealth and power. Now is the time to reach out to each other, see where we all are, and stitch all this good work together.

Dan DeWalt is an activist and journalist based in Newfane, Vermont. He wrote this article forThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent, collectively-owned, journalist-run, reader-supported online alternative newspaper now in its second year of daily publication. 

May 05, 2016
David L. Glotzer
Welcome to Fortified Europe: the Militarization of Europe’s Borders
Adam Szetela
Beyoncé’s “Formation” and the Boutique Activism of the Left
Bruce Lerro
Lost at Sea: Left Liberals Have No Party
Paul Cochrane
Hot Air in the Saudi Desert: a Kingdom in Descent?
Brian Terrell
My Visit to a Las Vegas Jail
Judith Deutsch
The Military’s “Securitization” of Climate Change
Phyllis Bennis
Kunduz Bombing: Proof the Pentagon Should Not Be Allowed to Investigate Itself for War Crimes
Chad Nelson
When Compassion is Terrorism: Animal Rights in a Post-911 World
Dan Arel
Making Sanders’ Dream a Reality Through Political Activism
Kent Paterson
Ten Years Later: Reflections on the Legacies of Immigrant Spring
Serge Halimi
Why Firefighters are Against Free Trade
Andrew Stewart
Green Bernie or Green Party Machine?
Binoy Kampmark
Yuri Gagarin in Space: the Politics of Cosmic Discovery
Hayes Rowan
This Naming of Things
May 04, 2016
Kshama Sawant
It’s Not About Bernie: Why We Can’t Let Our Revolution Die in Philadelphia
Conn Hallinan
Baiting the Bear: Russia and NATO
Joshua Frank
Hanford’s Leaky Nuke Tanks and Sick Workers, A Never-Ending Saga
Paul Craig Roberts
TIPP: Advancing American Imperialism
Ted Rall
Hillary to Bernie Supporters: Don’t Vote for Me!
Eric Draitser
Hillary Clinton and Wall Street’s Neoliberal War on Latin America
Leslie Scott
The Story of Jill Stein: Putting People, Peace and the Planet Before Profits
Ann Garrison
Building the Greens Into a Mass Party: Interview with Bruce Dixon
Tom Clifford
Crying Rape: Trump’s China-Bashing
Lawrence Davidson
Getting Rid of Bad Examples: Andrew Jackson & Woodrow Wilson
Ellen Brown
Bank of North Dakota Soars Despite Oil Bust: A Blueprint for California?
Nelson Valdes
Is Fidel Castro Outside or Part of Mainstream Thinking? A Selection of Quotes
Jesse Jackson
Don’t Send Flint Down the Drain: Fix It!
Nathan Riley
Help Bernie Keep His Halo
Rivera Sun
Remembering Nonviolent History: Freedom Rides
Clancy Sigal
Rachel and the Isolationists: How Maddow Blew It
Laura Finley
Changing the Conversation About “The Woman Card”
CJ Hopkins
Coming this Summer … Revenge of the Bride of Sophie’s Choice
May 03, 2016
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy Resumé: What the Record Shows
Michèle Brand – Arun Gupta
What is the “Nuit Debout”?
Chuck Churchill
The Failures of Capitalism, Donald Trump and Right Wing Terror
Dave Marsh
Bernie and the Greens
John Wight
Zionism Should be on Trial, Not Ken Livingstone
Rev. John Dear
A Dweller in Peace: the Life and Times of Daniel Berrigan
Patrick Cockburn
Saudi Arabia’s Great Leap Forward: What Would Mao Think?
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Electoral Votes Matter: Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders vs Donald Trump
Chris Gilbert
Venezuela Today: This Must Be Progress
Pepe Escobar
The Calm Before the Coming Global Storm
Ruth Fowler
Intersecting with the Identity Police (Or Why I Stopped Writing Op-Eds)
Victor Lasa
The Battle Rages on in Spain: the Country Prepares for Repeat Elections in June
Jack Rasmus
Is the US Economy Heading for Recession?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail