Library from Vermont

Bucknam: Selective prosecution

The attorney general is siding with Vermont’s large law firms and big lobbyists to deprive opponents of industrial wind the advice of a person who knows the intricacies of the proceedings and can help those who cannot afford the high-priced lawyers the developers can. And make no mistake. Even though this is a preposterous charge and will likely be thrown out, its purpose will be fulfilled: to chill anyone’s free speech rights who dares to question the powerful in Montpelier.
28 Jan 2016

Who is trying to silence Smith?

I recently read that the Vermont attorney general’s office is investigating Annette Smith of Vermonters for a Clean Environment. The purpose of the investigation is supposedly for “possible unauthorized practice of law.”
28 Jan 2016

Ignoring harm of noise

Taken together with the thousands of case reports from around the world (I personally have seen three families here in the Northeast Kingdom that have been forced to abandon their homes due to adverse health effects from nearby wind turbines), stricter full-spectrum noise standards for these large wind projects are urgently needed.
24 Jan 2016

State investigating head of VCE

The head of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, Annette Smith, is under criminal investigation by the Vermont attorney general’s office for the possible unauthorized practice of law. “I can confirm that a criminal investigation is underway,” Assistant Attorney General John Treadwell said in an interview Friday afternoon. “I cannot comment further at this time.”
23 Jan 2016

Energy Critics Make Strongest Statehouse Push

Wednesday brought the biggest show of force yet by Vermonters upset with the state’s siting process for energy projects. What has in recent years been a relatively small group of wind opponents has grown into a legion of people worried about wind and solar, including town leaders from across the state.
21 Jan 2016

Vermont’s energy siting struggle hits crescendo

On Wednesday, more than 100 protesters gathered at the Statehouse to demand local control for energy siting. Leading the demonstration were state Sen. John Rodgers, D-Essex/Orleans; Karen Horn, policy director for the Vermont League of Cities and Towns; and Don Chioffi, a member of the Rutland Selectboard. Together they argued the energy project siting process as it stands now oversteps the will of ratepayers.
21 Jan 2016

Lawmakers want to ban industrial wind energy

The bills would ban any wind energy project with a capacity of 500 kilowatts or more -- like existing projects in Sheffield and Georgia Mountain -- though small individual turbines would still be allowed. Strong and Rodgers cited the impact on the environment as well as the preservation of Vermont’s scenic resources as their motivations for pushing for an industrial wind ban
21 Jan 2016

Towns need more say in siting of renewable energy projects

“We’re supposed to write our plans so that, if we plan for renewables they tell us we have to have, we’ll get greater standing at the Public Service Board — why didn’t that happen before? Because it is the state mandating, and that’s not what we need,” Smith said. ...Vermonters want renewable energy, Smith said, and legislators must trust that localities will site renewable energy projects without the heavy hand of state government requiring that they do so. 
21 Jan 2016

Make wind pay its own way

There’s a far better way to defeat Big Wind in Vermont. Big Wind developers are crucially dependent on an array of federal tax subsidies. The vital one is the production tax credit that gives the wind farm owner 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour of power delivered. Impose a 2.3-cents-per-kilowatt-hour environmental protection tax on every new industrial-sized wind project in Vermont. That will exactly cancel the major federal subsidy that makes Big Wind profitable. Result: Vermont will never see another Big Wind project again.
20 Jan 2016

Turbine sound and fury aggravates neighbors

The Vermont Department of Public Service, for the first time, acknowledged that wind farm neighbors sometimes experience severe negative effects from turbines spinning, she says. The department’s Dec. 23 filing describes the McLanes’ complaints as “credible and serious” and states there is evidence “of a significant impairment of the quality of life for some nearby residents.” There is reason to believe, the department determined, that the McLanes potentially suffer significant adverse health effects.
18 Jan 2016

Vermont approves 1,000MW transmission line to import more power from Quebec

The planned New England Clean Power Link is a 154-mile underwater and underground transmission line that will travel from the Canadian border to the southern portion of the state. The line will run 97 miles beneath Lake Champlain before emerging near Benson, Vt., where it will be buried along roads for 57 miles to reach its destination—a converter station in Ludlow, Vt.
12 Jan 2016

Wind turbines hazardous to planes

Being a commercial airline pilot myself, I understood and shared my colleague’s concerns. We were not alone — the airport manager expressed grave concerns about the project and the “operational safety and the economic impact it has on the airport.” As a result of what I learned I joined with them to oppose the project. Impacts on aviation were not the only problem with the Ira project.
10 Jan 2016

A broken energy system

The process by which energy projects are developed in Vermont is broken. To regulate development, we have the Public Service Board, whose members seem to have been appointed by the governor to further his agenda and policies. We have a Public Service Department that serves the governor, not the public. We have legislators who write policy to serve the very utilities and energy developers that finance their campaigns.
11 Dec 2015
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