It’s been quiet on the mountain with the the Long Thanksgiving Weekend… Workers and Occupiers both have been taking a break. As we wait for a report from today here are some pictures from what might as well be re-named Shumlin’s Mountain Mess. At this rate we’ll have to re-name The Green Mountains. Rock Dust Ridge has a nice ring to it.
Today the Mountain Occupiers were joined by the Executive Director of THE VERMONT NATURAL RESOURCES COUNCIL, Brian Shupe and board memeber Virginia Farley. VNRC is one of Vermont’s most prominent environmental protection groups. The hike was slick and slushy due to the melting snow and the tracks of all the Occupiers of the past few days. The slow climb gave us plenty of time to ask and answer questions. Our visitors were game to walk out to the cranepath for a better look – “the land is disputed – why shouldn’t we go there,” they said. Today, it really was that simple. We had time to take several pictures and point out the former location of the wetland (now filled in and packed down) before the red security truck rolled around and we thought it best if our guests headed back to camp. The patrol man waved and said hello—but watched until we were back by the tents. According to the Orleans Record, extra security guards were hired for the four-day halt in construction over Thanksgiving. Wouldn’t want any more trees planted up there, I suppose.
I was once again astonished by the quantity of rock which had been moved since my last visit. Even if Nelson’s property line is where GMP claims, their land is now abutting a twenty-foot cliff. The fill near the former wetland bulges outfrom the sides of the road bed, forming crumbling walls taller than aperson. As with other visitors to the site, I’m sure this destruction was not lost on our guests.
Deb Markowitz, head of the Agency of Natural Resources said this week in a radio interview that she believes no more projects like Lowell will be built as new technology will have made this project obsolete within five years. When asked why not wait five years and spare this ridgeline, she replied with something vague about the Public Service Board. If only Deb would make the effort (as our guests did today) to see the site for herself– then maybe she would have the courage to take her beliefs to their logical conclusion. Mountains are not technology experiments. Ridges are not renewable!