Most of the serious environmental problems we now face can be traced directly back to a lack of understanding or respect for the natural world. We are at a threshold when many people recognize the importance of reversing this trend and moving things forward in a healthier direction — with more environmental respect and consciousness.

Throughout time, people who have lived close to the earth have regarded water as a source of life and sacred. During the Standing Rock protests, when people were trying to protect the drinking water for 17 million people downstream, many of the protesters’ signs read: “Water is life.”

In 2014, when Vermont Yankee was shuttered, it was discovered that groundwater had been leaking into the turbine building. In 2016, an NRC report revealed the amount of water leaking into the building had become so substantial that Entergy had resorted to storing the radioactive water in portable swimming pools.

Plant officials have been trying to stop the leaks and have managed to staunch the flow of water leaking into the building to 500- to 600-gallons a day from the 2,500- to 3,000-gallons a day officials claim occurred at the height of the crisis.

When there have been problems at the plant over the years, it has often taken a significant amount of time to make the information public and to hold the company accountable. Given a track record like this it seems wise to examine closely any agreements about the sale, decommissioning and the future of the Vermont Yankee site. Despite what might appear initially as financially beneficial, it’s best to consider the consequences of selling the plant to a company like North Star that has no experience in decommissioning full-scale commercial nuclear power plants like Vermont Yankee.

What is on the table here, with both the proposed sale to North Star and the management of the radioactive waste left on the site, is the question of how best to protect the residents, the land and the water, long into the future, from the harbingers of birth defects, cancer and genetic illness.

New England Coalition is advocating for intensified environmental stewardship of the site and to let the land lie fallow after the cleanup in order to achieve that goal.

AMELIA SHEA

139 Main St.

Brattleboro