Letter: Editorial Missed the Point
To the Editor:
Solar-energy businessman Jeff Wolfe’s message to Vermont Sen. John Campbell on S.30 can, I think, be summed up simply: “John, you don’t get it. And I’m disappointed.” And I would say the same about your editorial (“Hardball in Vermont,” March 23): You don’t get it, and I’m disappointed.
S.30 would make it more difficult to build renewable energy projects in Vermont just when we need them most. Storms Irene and Sandy are all you need to think about to get what’s at risk.
Your editorial asks, “What kind of environmentalist wouldn’t want development projects subjected to scrutiny under the provisions” of Act 250? The answer is these Vermont environmental groups: VPIRG, Conservation Law Foundation, 350Vermont, Sierra Club Vermont Chapter, the Vermont Natural Resources Council, the National Wildlife Federation’s Northeast Regional Office and the Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance.
I’m disappointed that your editorial writer didn’t communicate with these groups and learn more about why they oppose S.30.
If you had, you would have learned enough to know that this bill hurts all renewable development in Vermont, not just wind and not just large-scale wind. As VPIRG notes, “While the bill no longer contains a statewide moratorium on wind development as was initially proposed, it still contains provisions that could block even community-scale wind and solar projects. It allows for local or regional bans on clean energy to be established, despite the state’s long-term energy plan calling for 90 percent of the state’s power needs to be provided by renewable energy by 2050.”
And you would have found a convincing case for the significant role that wind energy can play in reducing carbon emissions in Vermont: Electricity consumption accounts for 30 percent of Vermont’s carbon dioxide emissions, and electricity from wind projects displaces electricity from the most expensive (usually oldest and most polluting) power plants on the New England utility system.
Your editorial should have taken Campbell to task for supporting S.30.