Letter: ‘Scenic Integrity’ of Vermont

To the Editor:

A recent letter to Sen. John Campbell, the president pro tempore of the Vermont Senate, asking that he consider voting against Vermont S.30, a bill that would block wind power in Vermont, prompted the following response from an intern, who was writing on his behalf: “I support renewable energy but we cannot become one large wind farm; I’m all for power generation but it cannot threaten the scenic integrity of our state. We must do it in a way that’s responsible for the land we’re stewards of. I’m supporting the bill because it lets us reflect which renewable projects will produce the best opportunities for us to get us off our addiction to oil while still maintaining the iconic essence of our state.”

That is very disappointing to hear. Blanket bans on clean energy are not the solution. When we see that 69 percent of Vermonters are in favor of wind in their communities, how can Campbell truly be representing the state, let alone the people in his district? How is it that he can represent the 31 percent that includes those that have ties to dirty fuels?

Doesn’t a clear sky above the mountains matter when thinking of our scenic integrity? Don’t the migrating fish, which struggle to traverse the insufficient fish ladders, matter to our scenic integrity? Don’t those dams destroy the scenic integrity of our waters? The tall chimneys of the power plants spewing pollutants and steam — are they contributing to this scenic integrity? Which of these does Campbell believe maintain the iconic sense of our state?

These are not icons that I want representing the beauty of Vermont. I’d rather the state remind us of the beautiful landscapes of the Dutch masters, which included the beauty of windmills. We need to adjust our notion of what we regard as beautiful, and that cannot be achieved through the ugliness of polluted thought.

Douglas Iverson