Manchester zoning re: solar farms

I'm writing this in response to the article on the "Walk And Talk" zoning and development review process now underway in our community.

Many of us traveling Vermont are witnessing solar farms cropping up in pristine meadows along our scenic highways and rural roads and if we are to meet Governor Shumlin's renewable energy goals approximately 30,000 acres of our small state will be devoted to these industrial power plants by 2032. Let's imagine what that future will look like 16 years from now.

While I could not find a statistic for the average solar farm size to date in Vermont, let's assume 5 acres is the average. This would require 6,000 facilities statewide. If we assume a somewhat equal statewide distribution among Vermont's 255 municipalities, Manchester would require 24 sites to meet its fair responsibility to our state's renewal energy goal.

I believe that most in our community would agree that these unsightly facilities should only be placed where they are least visible to residents and visitors alike and hope that those tasked with charting the way forward will seriously consider specific and discreet locations in Manchester where solar farms would be considered an acceptable use.

— Jim Kardas



Protect Arctic Refuge

I recently traveled to Washington D.C. to participate in Wilderness Week hosted by Alaska Wilderness League, the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society.

Along with concerned citizens from across the country, I learned about the current issues facing the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Arctic Ocean, heard from indigenous Arctic leaders and lobbied a number of members of Congress.

Before this past week, I wasn't aware how critical the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is to both the native population and wildlife.

My experience in Washington was an amazing one. I teamed up with fellow advocates as well as Alaskans, and we visited the Capitol to share with legislators our concerns, raise awareness and enhance support for these critical public lands and waters. It was empowering to talk to members of Congress about these special places and I am particularly grateful for staff of Representative Welch and Senators Leahy and Sanders for taking the time to meet with my group.

Protection of our public places, like the Coastal Plain of the Arctic Refuge and the Arctic Ocean is the responsibility of all citizens. It is our hope that our elected Representative and Senators will take the information we shared with them to heart and co-sponsor HR 239 -- designating the coastal section of the Refuge as "Wilderness — and stand with us in the effort to protect the Arctic Refuge for all Americans and for the wildlife for whom the area is so critical.

— Denis Rydjeski, Sierra Club Upper Valley Group Springfield

A local tax on Wall Street

Letter to the Editor:

At a casual town meeting in Putney in April 2010 Sen. Bernie Sanders expressed his support for a local Wall Street tax, advising that it might meet more opposition in the state capital than in Washington. A small group of Brattleboro residents started work on the tax, their plan being to levy the tax locally. This is not a petition for Washington or Montpelier to enact a tax. By their plan, Brattleboro residents and businesses investing in securities would pay a small tax to the town. Three types of securities tax and a capital gains tax are being proposed to the Representative Town Meeting for consideration under procedures of Vermont statute 2645 for amendments of town charter. Mr. Sanders confirmed his support for pilot legislation by connecting the group to his financial analyst, Doug Hoffer, who is now state auditor. On the basis of Mr. Hoffer's preliminary study, other specific Wall Street studies were funded and then comprehensive data were compiled by Dr. Joseph Kirchner.

We appreciate Mr. Sanders' advocacy on the issue of Wall Street and a fair economy and admire his foresight in supporting this pilot legislation. This fair tax will raise much-needed tax revenue for Brattleboro and become model legislation for other municipalities. The tax model applied nationwide will generate the billions of dollars needed to fund Mr. Sanders' important policy proposals. For more information, call me at 802-257-4995.

— Kurt Daims, Brattleboro,

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