In 1969, then Gov. Reagan signed into law the Save the San Francisco Bay Bill. That one bill started my education about man’s encroachment on nature. Upon entering the U.S. Air Force, my first duty station was Travis Air Force Base in California, which was 60 miles from San Francisco. This bill was very controversial and was key in the environmental movement that resulted in common use of the term “environmentalist.”
Now back to Vermont. The time was the 1980s when I became a young selectman and participated in Green Up Day in West Rutland. The area I was given was the marsh. It immediately brought me back to the Bay Area and their efforts. The Rutland County Audubon Society was heavily involved in our efforts also. Their bird count of 144 species of birds and raptors to me was amazing. And let’s not forget what lives below the waterline. There are many species of fish, turtles, salamanders, frogs, waterborne insects, and the list goes on. Research has proven that a wetland, acre for acre, produces more biological life forms than a rain forest and that a marsh is the greatest purifier of water on the planet. Ridgeline wind projects would severely upset the balance. The erosion, runoff, and altering of headwater streams would damage this precious resource. There are no mitigating factors.
It is ironic that not long ago our governor appeared on television stating that Vermont is open for business after Irene. Our mountains are a driving factor for eco-tourism, yet the present administration is pushing wind power. Why? After some research, I have learned that the wind industry has contributed heavily into their campaigns. At a recent rally for Bernie Sanders in Brandon, Gov. Shumlin and Sen. Bernie answered questions about wind development with a unified wall of rhetoric and lack of critical thought regarding the impacts of industrial wind. At the end of his answer Bernie stated that he envisions picnic tables at a wind park. Well, Governor and Senator, let’s take it one step further and invite 6 Flags to see if they would be interested in opening some concession stands. What an ill-informed and irresponsible statement.