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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

BDCC Has Advice

     The Reformer headlined a story this past Monday about a report done by BDCC, the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation on the closing of Yankee.  BDCC has for decades been the first and last word on the local economy and local economic development. The gist of the report was a review of the major problems associated with the closing of a nuke plant.   I also read part of the report itself.  Maybe I should have read it all.  However everything I read focused on what all the major parties involved in the closing and post closing affairs were doing since about 2010, two years before the plant was scheduled to close.  The stated purpose of the report was to share our experience with all the other places that have nuke plants that are closing or eventually, if not soon will close.  

       There really is only one piece of advice and it is nowhere to be found in the report.  Planning for closure should have begun as soon the plant’s impact was clear.  That would have probably been about five years after it opened.  In fact the first question a community or region with a nuke plant needs to ask itself is whether or not it ought to be planning at all for its closure.  If that strikes you rather quizzically and elicits ye olde response “does a bear shit in the woods” note that there is no record of that question ever being asked in Brattleboro although BDCC was well established long before Yankee was even a gleam in a capitalist’s eye.  By the time our local economic leaders soaked in the fact that the plant really would close it was too late to do anything but advocate for keeping it running.  At least then the public wouldn’t notice government and private failure to plan.  However the plant was as decrepit as its critics were pointing out and after only a year after the original license expired the owners, Entergy, admitted it wasn’t worth operating and pulled the plug a year after that.  The state of Vermont, marshaling what little influence it had in Yankee affairs, managed to wheedle ten million bucks from the plant for economic development.  That was a pathetic pittance of the profits turned by that plant over its 42 years operating history.  A hundred million would have been closer to what is really needed for the region and even that falls short.                                   

         Nevertheless the indefatigable BDCC is doing the best it can.  It reports that sometime in the not too distant future there might be 170 new jobs.  Hopefully there won’t be any population increase in the county before then.  If 400 people move in 170 jobs would just about cover what they need and there would be no net reduction in unemployment.  Other details like what these jobs might be and what they will be paying never made it into their prognostications.  It could easily happen, and often does, that even when there is a drop in unemployment the economy shrinks anyway because the new jobs are paying so much less that total personal income is still going down.  To be fair BDCC didnt ask for headlines.  It was the newspaper that turned a hesitant speculation into a major news story suggesting, without any investigation, that the economy was about to take off.


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Missing information

Near the end of my post there is a reference to "the newspaper" turning a cautionary tale into a full blown event. That paper was the Commons, not the Reformer which was the only other paper mentioned and to which it would seem I was pointing. The subject was a BDCC statement that they had hope that 170 new jobs might be created at some unspecified but hopefully not-too-distant future time. The Reformer was referenced regarding the advice on closing a nuke plant that BDCC was offering the rest of the world.


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