Vermont Energy Independence Day is March 21st, the date in 2012 that the 40-year license to Vermont’s sole nuclear power plant was meant to expire. Despite state law and a overwhelming majority vote in the legislature to shutter Vermont Yankee, the private corporation Entergy and the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission defeated Vermont in federal court to extend operation for another 20 years.
In the shadow of this “David vs. Goliath” story, the people of Vermont are taking action, with or without nuclear. Vermont government has adopted a new comprehensive energy plan to reach 90% renewable energy by 2050 (for all energy use). Vermont non-profits have launched multiple campaigns to move towards this renewable, low-impact future, including Fossil Fuel Freedom, Don’t Frack Vermont, and a global Connect The Dots day of climate action. And the people of Vermont spoke when on March 21st the state stopped buying power from Vermont Yankee.
This celebration of the spirit and vision of the people of Vermont culminated with the passage of a resolution by the Vermont State Legislature declaring March 21st as Vermont Energy Independence Day. This was a historic day marking a historic period of energy politics and action in Vermont’s transition toward a sustainable energy future. A state that has a reputation for firsts may just be the first to achieve true energy independence by breaking our addiction to fossil fuels, localizing and democratizing our energy production, reducing our carbon footprint, and showing the world what’s possible!