(Host) The Shumlin Administration has proposed a steep increase in the fee Entergy Vermont Yankee pays to discharge heated water into the Connecticut River.
Yankee now pays about $105,000 for a discharge permit.
Under a fee bill now under consideration in the Statehouse, the charge would go up to $543,000.
Governor Peter Shumlin says that charge is justified because other water users pay on a per-gallon basis and Yankee uses about 543 million gallons per year.
(Shumlin) "Right now under Vermont law larger dischargers pay a lower rate than smaller people that are discharging water into our rivers and lakes. I’m for equity. I believe that if you’re going to discharge water into Vermont‘s waterways you should pay the same rate regardless of whether you’re deep-pocketed company or a smaller Vermont employer."
(Host) But Yankee’s supporters in the Legislature say the fee hike is unfair.
Michael Hebert is a Republican from Vernon, where Vermont Yankee is based.
He says a 417 percent increase is not justified.
(Hebert) "I believe that there is a definite intention by the administration to drive Vermont Yankee out of business or out of the state. And this fee is part of that mechanism in which to do it. If they can’t do it close them down legally and through the courts then they will make it so unattractive to be in the state of Vermont that VY will close."
(Host) The fee bill is expected to be voted on by the full House shortly after the Legislature’s Town Meeting break.