On Monday, the Forbes website posted a piece by columnist James Conca entitled “Closing Vermont Nuclear Bad Business For Everyone.” Judging by Conca’s oeuvre, he is a complete apologist for nuclear energy… but that’s not my point here.
My point is the fundamental dishonesty of his column, based upon one crucial omission. And I quote:
Two electricity distribution companies in Massachusetts and New Hampshire announced electricity rate increases for this winter. This collateral damage results from Vermont’s choice last year to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. That choice has hurt rate-payers in their neighboring states.
Catch it? “Vermont’s choice.”
As anyone with the most glancing exposure to the facts could tell him, it was not Vermont’s choice to close Vermont Yankee. It was plant owner Entergy’s choice, For financial reasons having to do with changing market forces, not with Vermont’s overzealous radical socialist hippie-dippie hatred of Big Nuke.
Sure, Vermont had a more skeptical regulatory eye than other host states. Completely justified, IMO, because of Entergy’s terrible track record as plant operator. But Entergy made the decision to close VY on its own. It was a surprise to everyone in Vermont, because it came in the midst of Entergy’s full-court-press legal battle to keep VY open. Indeed, by all indications, Entergy was very likely to win the case and a 20-year license extension.
Mr. Conca is either criminally uninformed for an energy columnist at a major publication, or he’s ignoring the facts to suit his argument. In short, he’s either stupid or a liar.
All that is bad enough. But now, at least three members of Vermont’s terminally frustrated conservative minority have picked it up.
Ah, the immortal Tayt Brooks, former Douglas Administration functionary, former secretive head of the very secretive Lenore Broughton’s failed SuperPAC, Vermonters First, now the Vermont rep for American Majority, part of the Koch Brothers’ far-flung empire of innocuously-branded nonprofit organizations.
And then there’s Brian Keefe, bagman for Central Vermont Public Service. Retweeted by serially failed campaign consultant Darcie “Hack” Johnston, currently serving as unpaid consultant to the Dan Feliciano campaign.
As an outsider, James Conca may have the slightest figleaf of deniability for basing his argument on a canard. But Brooks, Keefe, and Johnston cannot possibly claim ignorance.
No, they’re spreading this column around because it suits their political interests, regardless of how it misrepresents the real situation.
I’m sure this is just the beginning of Vermont conservatives’ efforts to trumpet Conca’s essay as more proof of the evil Democrats’ anti-business agenda. Even though they know full well that the entire column is built on a foundation of quicksand.
Rob Roper? El Jefe General John McClaughry? “Super Dave” Sunderland? Scott Milne? Dan Feliciano? I’m lookin’ at you.