Letter to the editor: In support of Annette Smith

In support of Annette Smith

Is it coincidental that Governor Shumlin's insistent call for divestment comes precisely the same week Annette Smith (Vermonters for a Clean Environment) faced charges by the AG of practicing law without a license, charges everyone agreed were specious and politically motivated by her effective opposition to industrial wind development in Vermont. The charges were dropped but Annette held the scheduled press conference anyway with her criminal defense attorney David Sleigh, in the Cedar Creek Room at the statehouse. Interesting to note that congratulations and well wishes were not forthcoming from the Governor, whose silence speaks for itself.

The press conference was a wonderful, well attended show of support for Annette and her work, and gave her the perfect platform to enumerate how Governor Shumlin's aggressive renewable energy policy is failing our environment and communities. We've heard many justifications for this aggressive agenda, ranging from hair on fire save the planet build it yesterday to jobs creation (for Spain's Iberdrola corporation), but what ultimately squelches every voice of dissent is the trump card, a CPG (Certificate of Public Good). Who determines what constitutes the public good? The Governor! Not the people living in communities impacted by the visual blight of massive turbines, whose health is compromised by the pressure and sound vibrations, people forced to leave their now worthless homes because no one in their right mind would choose to live next to industrial turbines. Not to mention decimated ridge lines and watersheds, destroyed natural habitats, bird and bat kills...

There's a grab bag of justifications for these projects, to provide palatable cover stories designed for consumption by the public and legislature. But the queasiness remains. The real story is less than transparent and very unsavory; one of greed, cronyism, political donations, out of state profiteering, renewable energy subsidies, renewable energy credits (RECs) sold out of state, Wall St. tax write offs; why pay tax when you can invest in renewable development and anticipate substantial returns. Experts agree not one kilowatt of sanctified energy, in particular intermittent wind with its transmission issues will make a jot of difference in terms of global warming. Industrial turbines are Vermont's white elephants.

The Governor has sold his soul and compromised our beautiful state for political ends. But if we the people determine enough is enough, we can stop the greed and stupidity and demand change now.

This is not about opposition to renewable energy in Vermont; it's about implementing renewable energy projects that work in compatible ways with our communities and our singular, priceless environment.

Don't be distracted by divestment ploys. Now is the time to keep the focus on where change is really needed, in the creation of a transparent, inclusive, participatory process whereby communities have a decisive voice in renewable development projects. It's time to revitalize the tenants of Act 250 and support S-210. No more closed door, secret deals in what is known as the "friends and family club" of Governor Shumlin.

— Martine Victor Manchester


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