Letter: Important Bills in Montpelier

To the Editor:

Vermonters, please improve our health and environment by contacting your legislative representatives now regarding the following important legislation that will soon be acted on. As is so often the case, courageous, independent Vermont has the opportunity to set precedents.

∎ Oppose S.30, which would severely restrict the development of local renewable energy sources, including wind, while explicitly exempting transmission projects and oil and gas pipelines. We must replace dirty fossil fuel (e.g. coal taken through mountain-top removal, tar sand oil extraction and fracking) with clean energy. The latest wind technology, used at the Sheffield, Vt., site, is quiet, unobtrusive and powerful; you can see a tour of the site at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tu1Ch8gGGU.

∎ Request reinstatement of the gross receipts tax in H.216, the thermal efficiency bill. Conservation should be our No. 1 source of clean energy — otherwise, we are borrowing small amounts of heat for our homes before sending much larger amounts up the chimney.

∎ Support H.223, the shorelands bill, which would buffer and protect our lakes and shorelines from polluting runoff and unsightly development.

∎ Support H.234, the beverage tax bill. Who’s behind the expensive, daily, full-page, full-color ads in this paper? Whoever they are — lobbyists for big companies that sell unhealthy sugar, wasteful packaging or food that’s not local — they’re concerned about their money, not Vermonters’ health and environment.

Contact information for representatives is available at http://leg.state.vt.us/legdir/LegDirMain.cfm. You can also call the Statehouse sergeant-at-arms office and leave brief messages for your legislators at 802-828-2228.

Margaret Richardson