A meeting yesterday between Peter Shumlin and anti-Vermont Yankee advocates has been shrouded in secrecy, though nothing particularly controversial seems to have happened during the Fifth Floor confab.
This afternoon, we finally got a high-ranking administration official to confirm the meeting even occurred. In attendance, according to some informal chats today, were representatives of the state’s top environment/energy organizations.
No one has agreed to comment on the record, in accordance with the wishes of the governor.
The groups have invested an enormous amount of resources – both human and financial – into helping Shumlin shutter the Vernon nuclear reactor. So it seems obvious that he would tap their pulse as he deliberates whether to appeal the Murtha decision.
But the administration won’t give away anything on the record.
The official line from administration spokeswoman Sue Allen came in an email this morning:
“The Governor will not comment on the meeting or the issue of appealing Judge Murtha’s decision.”
Meeting-goers reportedly offered their opinions on the pros and cons of an appeal. Their perspectives are among the scores of opinions Shumlin will weigh as he considers his next move.
Politically, it’s a high-stakes decision for Shumlin. He’ll want to retain the good graces of the anti-Yankee crowd, which is largely responsible for getting him elected. They’re a motivated, well-organized group, and one he risks alienating by opting against an appeal.
On the other hand, he has to worry about sinking millions of dollars in additional legal expenses into an appeal that many believe is dead on arrival.
The secrecy over the meeting – and Shumlin’s uncharacteristic silence on the issue generally – can be attributed largely to the administration’s efforts to keep its playbook hidden from Entergy’s view.
The war against Vermont Yankee is far from over. But it isn’t clear yet where Shumlin will pitch the next battle.