Letters 3 – 23 – 2011

AP article misleading on Yankee

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Dave Gram’s recent Associated Press article on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission granting a 20-year license extension to Vermont Yankee ends with two paragraphs that mislead his readers by omitting relevant facts.

In the first of those two paragraphs, Gram omits mentioning that the tritium leaks he describes endangered no one and contaminated no drinking water reservoirs. The total quantity of radiation leaked was less than half the radiation from unwired Exit signs found in many public buildings. No one has been able to show that tritium has caused any health problems. By omitting these facts, Gram implies that Vermont Yankee is a leaky radiation hazard.

In that same paragraph, Gram claims that the plant executives misled lawmakers and regulators. Both Vermont’s Public Oversight Panel and an independent law firm agreed that the phrase “underground pipes” meant something different to the plant personnel than it did to the regulators. Both reports concluded there was no intention to mislead. Gram omits mentioning that, what at first seemed to be misleading statements, were in fact confusions over the meaning of terms. By misstating the facts surrounding this controversy, Gram implies that the plant executives are dishonest and covering up faults.

In the second of the two paragraphs, Gram implies that the Vermont legislature voted to deny renewal of the state permit in reaction to the tritium leaks. The whole story of the legislature’s role in Vermont Yankee relicensing is long and complex, so I cannot cover it in a short letter. The conclusion of this story would be that Gram’s implication is only partly true and probably irrelevant.

Dave Gram does a disservice to the American public and to his employer, the Associated Press, by omitting relevant facts and making false statements. The license extension issue deserves honest journalism.

Dr. George Angwin


Vermonters seeing through flimsy health care plan

Gov. Shumlin was struggling for words to Angela’s excellent question so as not to alienate his base but his rhetoric failed him. Ideologues may be happy with ShummyCare, but thinking people see the proposal as untenable without a lot more meat on the bones.

Dave (via the blog)



What’s the rush with health care legislation?

It would appear that the leadership in the Vermont General Assembly is following the model created last year by the leadership of Congress when it passed Obamacare. Vermont’s Single Payer Health Care proposal was blitzed through the Healthcare Committee of the House before committee members even had a chance to read it in a hastily convened late night vote. The bill, as presently constituted, is nothing but an empty shell without substance, the details to be filled in at some later date. What’s the rush? Are there serious matters being hidden from committee members? The full legislature? The PUBLIC? What is the Governor, the Speaker and the Committee Chair up to?

Ralph Colin


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