Entergy Raises Preemption Claims In Latest Lawsuit

Apr 25, 2013

Entergy Vermont Yankee has sued the state again in federal court, claiming the state has delayed approval of a back-up emergency generator.

Entergy has brought a familiar claim to the latest court action. It says federal law trumps state law on issues of safety.

In 2012, Entergy won a similar federal preemption case in a suit that challenged two Vermont laws that required legislative approval to operate the plant after its state license expired.

U.S. District Judge J. Garvan Murtha ruled last year that Vermont lawmakers were improperly motivated by safety when they passed the laws.

At the time, Murtha said Congress intended that only the federal government can regulate issues of nuclear safety.

That decision is now under appeal.

This latest court challenge is over a emergency diesel generator that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission wants installed at the Vernon reactor by September 2013. Named as defendants in the lawsuit are Gov. Peter Shumlin, Attorney General Bill Sorrell and the three members of the Public Service Board. All were sued in their official capacity.

The Public Service Board hasn’t yet ruled on a state permit for the generator.

Entergy wants a court injunction that says federal law trumps the board’s review of the generator case.