At the forum, my question to the candidates was concerning the industrial-scale wind development in Vermont and the proposed moratorium. Since I had originally talked to these candidates four months ago on this issue, I expected an opinion from them. Mr. Hopkins and Mr. Shaw support the moratorium and oppose industrial-scale wind development. Mr. Carr is still studying the issue.
Our town needs to be aware of the threat to our neighbors to the south and west. The four towns of Pittsford, Hubbardton, Castleton and West Rutland have been working long and hard to educate people as to the problems associated with industrial-scale wind development on our ridges. Mountaintops in Vermont are fragile and provide us with watershed, animal corridors and habitat, bird habitat, recreational uses, timber harvest and erosion control as well as magnificent views. The health concerns of the people who live near these monstrosities are being borne out in areas that have already been decimated. Nowhere has it been shown that these are cost-effective. The only ones to gain are the developers who are racing against the clock to get these approved so they can line their pockets.
I personally have seen the destruction of a beautiful mountain in Lowell. I am sickened at seeing what we have lost. I am concerned as to the health affects and quality of life for the people who live there. Why wouldn’t a moratorium be appropriate and necessary at this time?
I ask my legislators as well as those in other towns to learn about this issue and support a moratorium.
FERNE M. FAIVRE
Shumlin’s callous disregard
I want to know what Gov. Shumlin plans to do for the Therrien family of Sheffield who have been told by their family doctor they need to move for the health of their small children. As he condescendingly calls opponents of industrial-scale wind in Vermont members of “CAVE” (committee against virtually everything) and claims we are only opposed to the displacement of bears and bats, he dismisses the very real cost to people who have these wind projects thrust upon them.
“My view is if your hair is on fire you don’t call a moratorium to figure out how to put the fire out,” he says referring to global warming. You don’t run around flailing your arms hoping the fire goes out either. A serious problem deserves solutions that work, not snide comments about people who see things differently. Shumlin’s panicked approach to the issue is unworthy of a true leader. Before we blast away millions of years of geology we should take time to find real solutions, not feel-good actions based on the propaganda of the wind industry. The world isn’t going to end tomorrow, and a moratorium on big wind is not an unreasonable request.
I applaud Randy Brock for listening to the people whose lives are being turned upside-down by the onslaught of industrial wind projects in this state. The Therrien family has some tough decisions ahead as they are faced with the loss of their home with no financial compensation, and there are numerous other families in Vermont faced with a similar threat. Not everybody gets to make sweetheart real estate deals with their wealthy friends like Governor Shumlin. The least he could do is show some respect.
JOHN GEERY Clarendon
I recently visited the Sheffield Wind Farm to gain a better understanding of how wind fits into our energy future. As a college student, I have learned a lot of upsetting facts about our planet and the direction we are headed. But there is one thing that is not stressed enough: We, as a community, are at a crucial point in our energy future. Our reliance on fossil fuels has left us with unpredictable weather, high gas prices, and a slowly diminishing ecosystem. But there is a solution: If we invest in renewable energy like solar, wind, and geothermal now, we can reduce our impact. Vermont must take control of our energy future. Vermont as a community is doing a fantastic job investing in household solar panels, solar hot water, and wood pellet stoves. But this is not enough energy to power the amount of electricity we need. If we want to avoid further weather catastrophes like we saw with Hurricane Irene, we need larger scale projects along with our community scale efforts. Wind power, as one of the most benign sources of renewable energy needs to be a part of our energy picture. We need to be a part of the solution, and do our part now.
Melanie Katz Burlington
Hypocrisy is out there
Gov. Shumlin is right in calling for development of wind energy in Vermont. It is the cleanest of energy sources, reduces dependence on fossil fuels, and is a great legacy for future generations. Studies have shown that fully 25 percent of Vermont’s electrical needs could come from responsibly developed wind energy. And 70 percent of Vermonters are in favor of wind energy development.
Listening to the small coterie of highly vocal wind opponents, you’d think that every mountain in Vermont was going to be blown up and turned into a desert filled with concrete and steel. In fact, that 25 percent of our power requirements would come from towers on only 4 percent of our ridgelines.
The hypocrisy of the naysayers seems overwhelming. They thump their chests about a few towers on a tiny proportion of our mountains, but not a word about entire mountainsides clear-cut for ski areas, not a peep about giant high-rise condominiums at the foot of the mountains, the water slides and all the other intrusive infrastructure. (Mind you, I started skiing in 1946 — enjoying Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and overseas ski areas and have no complaint about the slopes and lifts.)
But the complaints of the wind opponents seem a bit fanatic. Wind power development will help combat climate change, even if only a little, but we can be a leader. Ignoring wind — and climate change — is not responsible.
Edward C. Day East Montpelier Center