In late summer 2013, Entergy announced that the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station (VY) in Vernon, VT would no longer operate as a nuclear energy production facility. On December 31, 2014, VY ceased its energy generation operations and began the long term process of decommissioning and then dismantling the facility. This event created significant immediate and long-term impacts on the regional economy due to the number of employees laid off, the substantial loss of earned income, the loss of contracts for local subcontractors and suppliers, the loss of spending in the region, and other factors.
Upon the announcement of VY’s closure, a new collaboration emerged of regional planning and economic development organizations serving the tri-state region: FRCOG, Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC), Southwest Region Planning Commission (SWRPC), and Windham Regional Commission. These partnering organizations recognize the challenges ahead, and that it is happening at a time when the area is working diligently to recover from the recent economic recession and the impacts of 2011’s Tropical Storm Irene.
Businesses, workers and consumers continually traverse community and state boundaries. This effort recognizes this regional economy, and seeks to leverage the region’s shared assets for greater economic opportunity. Recently, BDCC was awarded a U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to support the Green Building Cluster and develop a business accelerator program. A portion of this grant was also set aside to support collaboration building for this new planning initiative. Partnering organizations, including the FRCOG, will receive sub-awards to: (a) identify and engage a broad range of stakeholder groups; (b) conduct an analysis of each area’s CEDS Plan to determine shared strengths, challenges and opportunities; (c) and draft a white paper on the lessons learned so far about addressing economic impacts due to nuclear plant decommissioning. The partners see this work as necessary to build the foundation for a larger effort that will seek state and federal assistance to support business growth, increase employment opportunities, and create a more robust and dynamic economy for the Tri-State Region. For more information, please contact Jessica Atwood, Economic Development Program Manager, at 413-774-3167 or [email protected].