A few days after the Vermont Senate voted against letting the Public Service Board go ahead with a decision on Vermont Yankee’s future, Senate President Pro Tempore Peter Shumlin, D-Windham, went on a Fox TV business show that he surely is regretting now.
The show’s host, Stuart Varney, grilled Shumlin about where Vermont would get its power if not from the nuclear power plant. “You must be going back to coal or fossil fuels,” Varney challenged.
Shumlin answered that the state would turn to renewables. “The power market in America is going to dramatically shift,” Shumlin said. “Germany right now is producing 30 percent of its juice from solar.”
“Are you sure 30 percent of it comes from solar?” Varney countered.
“It happens to be a fact,” Shumlin said, until Varney’s colleagues starting surfing the Web and came up with indications that solar amounted to no more than 1 percent of Germany’s power. “I’m not really an expert on Germany,” Shumlin said. “That’s what I’ve been told.”
As it turns out, Germany’s goal for renewable energy is 30 percent. Supporters of Vermont Yankee and the Republican Governors Association have made hay of the interview, sending out e-mails and posting the interview online.
Shumlin said he was mistaken about Germany, but that he merely provided incorrect statistics, not under oath, and never suggested Vermont would replace all of Vermont Yankee’s power with renewables. Nor, he said, was the decision not to endorse Vermont Yankee’s continued operation based on that information. Varney, he said, started the show by spreading misinformation that Vermont would be turning to coal. “Only Fox News has that view,” he said.
The irony, of course, is that nothing has hurt Vermont Yankee’s cause more than its own misinformation in denying the existence of underground pipes that were later found to be leaking tritium.
The Fox interview can be seen at this pro-Vermont Yankee Web site
- Terri Hallenbeck
Labels: Sen. Peter Shumlin, Vermont Yankee