Act 160 and Local Liars: A Review of the State’s Role in the Entergy Lawsuit

by Meredith Angwin

Act 160 is the Vermont law passed in 2006 that gives the legislature the power to refuse a Certificate of Public Good to Entergy, therefore preventing the plant from operating past March 2012. This law was a substantial amendment to the agreement (Memorandum of Understanding) that Entergy had signed in 2002 when it bought Vermont Yankee. That Act 160 substantially changed the contract is one basis for the Entergy lawsuit.

Immediately after the suit was filed, Peter Shumlin claimed that Entergy had supported Act 160. He was surprised that Entergy went back on what they said at the time and sued about something they supported. You can see him saying this in the video clip from True North Reports. The part about Act 160 starts at about the 3.40 minute mark.

In a blog post in late April, I said that Entergy had not supported Act 160. In that post, I referred to my search for evidence that Entergy had supported Act 160. I found only evidence that Entergy had fought it, albeit without a lot of flair and energy. I found a few quotes from Brian Cosgrove of Entergy opposing Act 160. In that blog post, I asked people to give me more evidence about Entergy and Act 160 if they could find it.

On May 8, the Times Argus published a front page article, written by Peter Hirshfeld, titled “Who Said What? And Does It Matter?” The article is unfortunately behind a paywall (I can’t link to it) but Hirshfeld found Brian Cosgrove of Entergy making the same negative comments about the bill that I reported in my blog post. Hirshfeld found more evidence, though. In four hearings about the bill, he found that Entergy lobbyists said very clearly that Entergy did not support the bill. On March 2, 2006, lobbyist Gerry Morris said: “This is my third time testifying on this issue and…we still oppose the bill.”

Since Shumlin said Entergy didn’t oppose Act 160, he is either ignorant, or he is lying.