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Letter: Speaking of Energy Subsidies

To the Editor:

The letter from Tim Dreisbach of South Royalton complaining about subsidizing solar “investments” and the “mining and disposal of materials in solar panels and their related batteries” (“Power of Perverse Incentives,” Nov. 6) is a wonderful illustration of the very problem with oil, except he is complaining about solar.

I read his sweeping claim that solar subsidies to towns are just “taking from each other” and technologies are “as harmful as burning hydrocarbons, especially clean natural gas.” I must have missed his mention of a subsidized war or two or three or four to force open overseas oil fields to hydrocarbon giants such as Chevron and BP. I also missed his complaint about massive subsidies for the filthy, land-ruining fracking industry that brings him “clean natural gas.” If readers have not yet seen the homemade film Gasland, it shows clips by one land owner who traveled the country videotaping fracked homeowners lighting their now-worthless well-water taps on fire. Rent it now.

Perhaps the worst subsidy for fracked gas is the blanket federal exemption from environmental reporting, accountability and oversight. How did this exemption come into law? The writer left out mention of a Republican vice president under George W. Bush, a vice president who previously was head of ... Halliburton! And is Halliburton now the largest of the gas frackers? I believe it is! Let me also mention the huge amount of money made by Vermont’s own Cassella industries for trucking polluted Pennsylvania frack-water to dump in New York, until a state moratorium was called.

Many people in the Upper Valley are trying low-carbon and no-carbon ways to heat and drive. While no one way is perfect, each brings the circle of democratic choice and local control closer to our own state, town or neighborhood. Not so for Nigerian light crude — the heavily subsidized hydro-carbon that heats New England homes. And not so for fracked “clean natural gas” when we notice the lives, environments and home values being ruined with legal impunity across America.

Robert Spottswood

Norwich

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Letter: Power of Perverse Incentives

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

To the Editor: Kudos to the Thetford Selectboard for hatching a scheme that will save its town $240,000 in energy savings and incremental revenue (“Thetford Weighs Solar Energy Plan,” Oct. 18.) Before we all jump on this bandwagon as “a model that can be replicated across the state” as its proponents proclaim, let us first consider the sustainability of its …