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Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen



Bartlett v. Shumlin

When Senate President Pro Tempore Peter Shumlin announced last week that the Senate would vote this week on the future of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, it caught some senators by surprise. One could argue it shouldn’t have — he’s been telling the media for weeks that he foresees a vote this session and the session is motoring to its mid-point.

Nonetheless, Shumlin’s fellow Democratic gubernatorial candidate Susan Bartlett said he hadn’t clued her and others in on the vote, just as he hadn’t told them before announcing earlier this session that legislators would be taking a pay cut.

Bartlett’s irritation doesn’t seem to have abated over the weekend. She put out a statement Sunday night, calling this week’s vote “more political theater than making good public policy.”

She said she agrees that Vermont Yankee should not be relicensed, but thinks the time is not right for a vote, with several reports on Vermont Yankee pending.

“If we had followed the process we had in place, I believe that by the end of the session we would have voted as an entire legislature to close Yankee. That would have ended the discussion,” Bartlett said in her statement.

“I am on record as wanting to close Vermont Yankee in 2012. Their behavior in the past few months has only confirmed my opinion. This isn’t about my vote, it’s about doing the job right.”

She was careful not to mention Shumlin’s name anywhere in the statement. The candidates have, after all, agreed not to attack each other.

Bartlett will likely have a chance to vote on delaying the VY decision. Sen. Phil Scott, himself a candidate for lieutenant governor, said Monday he will introduce an amendment to send the bill to the Appropriations or Economic Development committee to study the economic ramifications of closing Vermont Yankee.

Will his amendment pass?

“I don’t know if I have enough support,” Scott said. “We’ll see.”

Senate Majority Leader John Campbell said he doesn’t think Scott has the votes.

Scott also said he doesn’t think he could vote to keep Vermont Yankee running for another 20 years based on current circumstances.

- Terri Hallenbeck

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I was in the Statehouse and heard Sen. Cummings complaining about the short notice given to her regarding the press conference to announce the vote. Shumlin did move suddenly, and probably with political motivation. But Bartlett will have a hard time making points with this complaint. Nobody likes VY right now, except those folks who work there.
Heck, even Republicans are ready to vote against VY.

Phil Scott is a moderate GOP and says he will not vote to relicense.
Phil Scott just handed the primary to Snelling.
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