If you follow what appears to be statewide public opinion as reflected by Letters to the Editor, street demonstrations, rallies and meetings, you might logically conclude that, if put to a vote, the future of Vermont Yankee would be sealed tomorrow, with an immediate shut-down. Probably so. And, of course, the Golden Dome folk are well-attuned to public opinion, so that, if polled, Id guess that they too would glibly express a majority shut-it-down opinion, for public consumption.
But, Id also guess, theyre smart enough to prevent such a shut-down from happening. After all, the legislative body which gets to decide on VYs future, presumably after receiving a recommendation from the Public Service Department, is composed almost entirely of folks whose intelligence level would be (with only a couple of exceptions) positioned very definitely on the right-hand side of Charles Murrays famous intelligence-measurement bell curve, who fully understand the economic impact of choosing to do without a third or so of the electricity Vermont uses, and likewise fully understand the improbability of replacing the lost power with towers on ridges, which even now theyre figuring on taxing into nonprofitability for environmental reasons. At the very least, they can readily comprehend what such a shut-down would do to tax revenues, and for that reason alone would choose to extend the license, even while explaining to the shut-it-down folks why they really didnt want to do so, had no choice, were pressured by some really bad people, and so on.
A further prediction: even though the major national environmental groups are now crawfishing away from their former hostility to nuclear power (in the April 10 edition of the Wall Street Journal, Environmental Defense Fund attorney James Marston says were willing to take another look at it.) Vermont legislators arent and wont. Dont look for the once-planned Shoreham plant to be resurrected any time soon; therefore, look for Vermonts power costs to remain among the nations highest and for non-residential development to falter and most probably shrink as a result. Which, of course, is the underlying goal, to be quietly applauded and not decried, although, of course, never admitted.