Democracy prevails when a nuclear engineer turned whistle-blower, a 93-year old grandmother, and a scrappy new governor join forces with a dedicated array of citizen activists to accomplish a rare grassroots environmental victory in closing an aging nuclear reactor in Vermont.

POWER STRUGGLE is the remarkable story about how people power overcame corporate power and government cover-ups to finally shut down an aging and dangerous nuclear plant. We see how small town citizens were transformed into tenacious environmental activists who triumphed against the odds. POWER STRUGGLE is a hopeful story that reminds us that citizen activism is not just possible, it is essential to saving our endangered planet.”

David Goodman, best-selling author, journalist and radio host, THE VERMONT CONVERSATION
Synopsis: 

Filmed over five years, this feature-length documentary chronicles the heated political battle to close the aging Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, located on the banks of the Connecticut River in southern Vermont. 

POWER STRUGGLE follows the unfolding drama as citizen activists and elected officials – alarmed at increasing safety violations—took on the federal government and one of the biggest nuclear power companies in America to call for closure of the reactor when its original 40-year license expires.

The film captures perspectives on all sides of the controversy, including from local residents both for and against nuclear power, elected officials (including U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin), nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen, a Vermont Yankee spokesperson, and federal nuclear regulators. 

A timely, inspiring story of democracy in action; about whether citizens’ voices will be heard against big moneyed interests, and what people are doing locally right now to make a difference for a sustainable energy future. 

POWER STRUGGLE is also a warning about the toxic legacy of high-level radioactive waste that will remain at every nuclear power plant around the world indefinitely into the future.   

Filmmaker Robbie Leppzer is available to speak on college campuses and at high schools with POWER STRUGGLE, as well as with a retrospective of his documentary films chronicling 40 years of grassroots social change activism.  For more information, download “College Speaking Programs by Documentary Filmmaker Robbie Leppzer” (PDF):  www.turningtide.com/pdfs/LeppzerSpeaker2019_+_Doc_Flyers.pdf

Reviews

“A genuine David vs. Goliath battle. A rich story of whether grassroots democracy, in the form of citizens and local government, can triumph over entrenched, powerful interests like the nuclear energy industry. Through a story with many twists and turns, Leppzer keeps the film’s focus on the individuals caught up in the drama.”

Steve Pfarrer, DAILY HAMPSHIRE GAZETTE

POWER STRUGGLE is both frightening and inspiring. Frightening in the matter-of-fact way in which it reminds viewers of the threat to human health that nuclear power plants continue to pose. Inspiring for the story of ordinary people who refuse to accept that risk. Director Robbie Leppzer patiently follows the story over years, and celebrates how citizen engagement eventually prevailed, but wisely avoids imposing a happy ending, by reminding us about the long-term legacy of the nuclear waste that gets left behind. These kinds of stories, so important to creating a more deeply democratic society, would often go untold without independent media. For more than four decades, Leppzer has been an exemplar of that independence, combining a mastery of the craft of storytelling through documentary films with an incisive analysis of how power operates. POWER STRUGGLE is journalism at its best.”

Robert Jensen, Professor Emeritus of Journalism, University of Texas at Austin

POWER STRUGGLE should ensure engaging conversations on a number of topics, including the role that citizens can play in a participatory democracy, the fight for a safe and sustainable energy future, and the long-term impact of nuclear technology on our society.”

Kate Purdie Professor, Department of Visual & Performing Arts, Bennington College

“With his documentary film POWER STRUGGLE, Robbie Leppzer has created an important and detailed study of a social movement in a specific political and environmental campaign. This film can be used in university and high school classrooms to show what it means to organize around a social, political, or environmental issue. I hope this film will be widely used in a broad range of classes that are teaching strategies and methods for policy advocacy, political organizing, and social action.”

Professor Dr. John Ungerleider, Former Chair of Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation M.A., School For International Training Graduate Institute; Adjunct Faculty at Brandeis College, Marlboro College, Community College of Vermont