Vermont officials re-tool plans for the disbursement of $10 million in Entergy Nuclear funds

Economic Indicators Associated Press

State officials have decided to change plans for the disbursement of $10 million in economic development funds that will be used to help cushion the economic blow from the closing of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

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Patricia Moulton, secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, told The Rutland Herald (http://bit.ly/1OvcyHJ ) the changes were necessary after problems were encountered during the first round of $2 million in disbursements last fall.

"We realized the first time around we wanted to be more versatile," Moulton said. "We wanted to be responsive to opportunities and challenges as they come up. We wanted a longer-term impact."

In December, Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin granted applications to only five groups out of 26 requesting funds. The largest award was for $300,000 to the Bellows Falls Area Development Corp., which will put the money toward the environmental cleanup of The Island in Bellows Falls.

Moulton said $2 million is still being distributed each year in three categories of funding.

Because only $814,000 was disbursed last fall, the state can disburse approximately $3.2 million this year.

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Entergy Nuclear spokesman Martin Cohn said that under the terms of an agreement with the state, Entergy Vermont Yankee will provide $10 million over five years in economic development for Windham County.

"To date, we have given $4 million," Cohn said. "We remain optimistic that the monies will be used to help Windham County grow jobs and bolster the region's economy."

Vermont Yankee stopped making power last December.

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Information from: Rutland Herald, http://www.rutlandherald.com/