Letter: Don’t Thwart Renewable Energy
To the Editor:
I urge all Vermont state Senators from the Upper Valley to oppose S.30, a bill now under consideration that would put large, new regulatory hurdles in the way of renewable energy development, especially wind projects. These projects already undergo extensive review by state authorities before being allowed to proceed.
Though technically true that the bill does not block wind projects per se, there’s no coincidence that analysts who favor expanded wind power view it as a significant hurdle, while analysts who oppose all new wind development in Vermont as a matter of principle (in my opinion, confused principle) support the bill. The reality on the ground — should S.30 become law — is that Vermont will be seriously hindered in responsibly developing one of our valuable and essential resources.
The bill runs counter both to facts and to public opinion. The facts of renewable energy installations — importantly, including large-scale wind — are that they cause very little harm to the environment and none to human health. Meantime, they are valuable contributors to our economy. Further, the alternatives for our energy supplies are grotesque, whether in the form of coal derived from the demolition of entire mountains or expanded hydropower from Quebec that entails the inundation of millions of acres.
While public opinion does not always accord with the facts, this is a case in which the public appears to know what’s right: A recent survey has found that nearly 70 percent of Vermonters support wind power, even if the turbines were to be established in their own community.
Currently, Sens. Mark MacDonald and Dick McCormack are on record opposing the bill — thank you. On the other hand, Sens. Alice Nitka and John Campbell support the bill. I hope they will reconsider their views.