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VPIRG’s wind support not in public interest

When did VPIRG round the bend on protecting Vermont’s natural resources and environmental legacy?

I am a 60-year-old native Vermonter who tagged along with VPIRG in the early 1970s when they were investigating and writing “Downhill in Warren,” a treatise about the land use shift from local agriculture (dairy) to ski area growth and second home development in the Mad River Valley. I was proud of the product of that work conducted by many young Vermonters in documenting the velocity of a changing landscape and way of life.

Now, in 2012, I find VPIRG rolling over in its support of multinational corporate ridgeline wind development and pushing the accelerated destruction of irreplaceable mountain ridges. We Vermonters need to get it through our heads: This carnage is not about creating the charming whir of windmills peacefully energizing the snug little cottages of us backwoods rubes in the Northeast Kingdom. This is about Gaz Metro/GMP seizing the inside track on making a fast buck through federal incentives for a faulty renewable energy model.

Vermont needs a comprehensive energy policy that is the product of thoughtful, informed discourse, good science and the recognition that access to clean, affordable electricity is already at hand. What we are getting is a land rush by Canadian corporations to place wind turbines on ridgelines and gain control of Vermont’s electrical grid before most of us realize what is occurring.

VPIRG’s tactic of assailing ridgeline protectors as bad and ridgeline “developers” as good is as shallow as a playground sandbox. These projects focus on remote ridges in isolated communities too poor and too few to push back. Imagine GMP meeting with the selectmen in Shelburne to propose a wind project on the bay. What kind of a state does VPIRG want for our children and grandchildren to inherit? Why do VPIRG’s board members more accurately reflect the corporations that would destroy Vermont’s landscape than the public it purports to serve? Why isn’t VPIRG adamant about conservation, insulation and weatherization? Why isn’t VPIRG in front of car, bus and truck emission reduction? Why does not VPIRG represent the public’s interest it buries in its name?

I am disappointed and, frankly, embarrassed by the tepid, corporate patsy VPIRG has devolved into.

Phil Lovely

Craftsbury Common