This blog is posted on behalf of Connor Gibson, student at University of Vermont and Greenpeace Organizing Term Alumni:
Although I live in Vermont, it took a campaign trip as a part of last spring’s Greenpeace Organizing Term http://www.greenpeace.org/got
This plant is very controversial: it’s a big source of jobs and a fairly large supplier of energy in my tiny little state. The plant is up for expiration in 2012 and the VT legislature has the power to either shut it down on its 40th birthday or let it run for another 20 years. I should probably also mention that the place is falling apart- it has experienced a cooling tower collapse, a transformer fire, and countless other safety hazards over the last few years. In fact, it probably has sprung another leak since you started reading this. Seriously.
This is where we came in. From Washington DC, we drove north to aid local anti-nuclear organizations and build public pressure to show the legislature that they need to retire this place on time. In Brattleboro, one town over from where the plant is located, we heard the opinions of people who live in close proximity to VT Yankee. Overwhelmingly, these people expressed concern and frustration over the possibility of leaving such a dangerous facility open for another two decades. Hearing the stories of direct stakeholders only stiffened our resolved to act.
We petitioned. Hard. Hundreds of names were databased and contacted. We threw a kick-off party at my beloved University of Vermont that attracted nearly 100 people, giving them a chance to hear about the issue from experts, network with other activists, and attend short workshops to help them become more involved. It was beautiful [and inspiring].
After my summer internship with Greenpeace winds up, I’m heading back to the University of Vermont and will again fight the [dirty, dangerous and expensive] VT Yankee. It’s going to be a tough battle, but we have a real shot and everyone is on the edge of their seat about it. As an organizer, that makes me even more excited to get back to work
If you have to have an experience like me, check out http://www.greenpeace.org/got for more info and to apply for the upcoming Fall semester of the Greenpeace Organizing Term.