MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont state regulators have given the final approval for the sale of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

The Vermont Public Utility Commission says it approved the sale to NorthStar because the company has promised to decommission the Vernon plant years ahead of schedule.

NorthStar says it will start cleanup of the site no later than 2021, compared to the site's current owner Entergy Nuclear which planned for 2053.

PUC Commissioner Margaret Cheney issued a statement Thursday saying the accelerated schedule is in the best interest of the people of Vernon and the state of Vermont.

An attorney with the Conservation Law Foundation criticized the deal, saying it fails to provide "common sense protections."

Vermont Yankee closed in 2014 after operating for 42 years.