Letters to the Editor



Rutland Herald letter to the editor
What candidates think of wind
November 03,2012
I wish to thank the Brandon Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring a candidate’s forum at the Town Hall. It was very informative and well attended.

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.


   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

We are at a crossroads

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

Watch the door, Governor
   An open letter to Peter Shumlin:
   To the emperor wannabe, Peter Shumlin. You want to call people who question rotten government CAVE (Committees Against Virtually Everything), but it is you who are creating virtually useless committees. You, Pete, are so willing to be taken in by foreign wind turbine developers who feed your ego and lead you to believe you are something you are not. You are not an honest man and you have never had the courage to represent the people of the state of Vermont.
   Every department of our Vermont government has been poisoned by you and the people of Vermont have suffered. The small towns of the Northeast Kingdom have come under a relentless assault by destructive foreign developers and you sit back on your plush throne and call those townspeople derogatory names. You rigged a governmental system that rips the power from small towns and leaves them helpless to attack. The systems that were intended to protect us are now being used to squash us like bugs.
   In a way, Pete, you are like the emperor in that old story who is taken in by foreign charlatans. They feed your vanity and dress you in imaginary robes of majesty. Imagination, Pete, is all you have. Come November I doubt there will be much to see as you come slinking out, naked, onto the streets of Montpelier looking for a new job.
   Don’t let the door hit you …
   Kathleen J. Nelson Brighton/Island Pond
 Shumlin’s support for wind misguided
   In a recent article, the governor suggested that Vermonters who oppose the destruction of our pristine ridgelines for large-scale wind development are against “virtually everything” (“Candidates take opposite tacks on energy,” by Peter Hirschfeld, Vermont Press Bureau, Oct. 24).
   These remarks are not surprising coming from a governor who won the Democratic nomination by less than 1 percent, believes wind power can somehow replace conventional power, and believes he may have been responsible for Tropical Storm Irene cleanup. (Don’t forget this spring he thought he was “almost” mauled by bears.)
   Vermonters who oppose wind development are quite oppositely pro “everything” except large-scale wind development. Many are conservative and place a high value on the landscape that historically Vermonters have worked so hard to preserve.
   So why is the governor so hellbent on destroying Vermont’s most valuable natural resource for one single alternative?
   For the same reason he believes he was “almost” mauled by bears — he “thinks” it will work.
   Vermonters oppose wind for more practical reasons. It simply doesn’t work. It is destructive to small rural communities and it damages human health and the wild and natural resources around us. And most likely will make the carbon dioxide problem worse.
   Here’s a more practical question: How is the governor doing with his energy footprint?
   With 17 homes valued at over $4.5 million, it most likely would dwarf most rural Vermonters’ (Al Gore ring a bell?).
   The governor is traversing the country sounding the perpetual climate change alarm while Vermonters struggle with unemployment, high taxes, higher electric bills and medical expenses, made worse by these “pie in the sky” fantasies he is creating while the bears chase him around his yard trying to eat his brownies.
   It’s time for more balance, a moratorium on wind, and pragmatism in Montpelier.
   Greg Bryant Sheffield
Shumlin arrogant toward his critics
   Gov. Shumlin’s recent scornful and intemperate remarks regarding folks concerned about mountaintop destruction (“Candidates take opposite tacks on energy,” Vermont Press Bureau, Oct. 24) detract from a rational debate about what is emerging as perhaps Vermont’s greatest environmental battle of the decade.
   The governor has many laudable ideas. For example, the deliberative process he has established for health reform is commendable. What is not admirable, however, is his palpable arrogance toward people who challenge him. Two weeks ago, he insulted journalists probing his recent land deal in East Montpelier. More recently, when confronting criticisms about industrial wind’s assault of Vermont’s mountains, he lashed out at critics, calling them “the committee against virtually everything.”
   Vermont needs an urgent and informed debate for dealing with climate change. Yet, it is hard to have such a discussion when Vermonters who adopt views contrary to the governor’s are dismissed with an imperial wave of the hand.
   Back in the mid-1960s, several prominent Vermonters sounded alarms about development above the environmentally fragile 2,500-foot level of our mountains. They included Hub Vogelmann of UVM, Bob “Mr. Audubon” Spear and Shirley Strong, first female president of the Green Mountain Club. Their work helped lead to the 2,500-foot standard in Act 250. Their findings and concerns remain relevant and deserve consideration. I shudder to think what Peter Shumlin would have said about them.
   Bruce S. Post Essex Junction
Think critically about wind power
   In spite of attempts by many very smart Vermonters to create a dialogue where Vermonters could effectively and honestly debate the pros and cons of industrial wind, we are still being fed nothing but campaign rhetoric and some outright lies. Critical thinking is not taking place, and we are being sold a bill of goods by Peter Shumlin and company.
   When Gov. Shumlin states that “bats will be displaced by wind turbines,” someone should call him on that statement, which is incorrect. Bats are not “displaced” by turbines, they are killed. Doesn’t Gov. Shumlin read the papers and know about the kill permit issued to First Wind? Perhaps he only reads the parts where he slanders those who question the logic of his grand vision to save us all from global warming?
   Instead of engaging in a productive dialogue and listening to the voices of Vermonters who question his vision for very good reason, Peter Shumlin chooses to slander those people and use the sophomoric labeling and call them “CAVE” — “the committee against virtually everything.” Isn’t that clever, Mr. Shumlin? While we are researching the facts and producing solid data that questions the logic of your vision for renewable energy for Vermont, you can respond only with belittling labels. Perhaps that is because you cannot connect the dots between industrial wind and the sacrifice of our ridgelines inherent in that vision with any science as to how that will save us from global warming.
   Lisa Wright Garcia Florence