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Rodgers: Questioning Eolian’s Seneca Mountain message

On Nov. 11 at 6 p.m. the UTG (Unified Towns and Gores) Board of Governors will meet at the Brighton Town Hall to discuss the Seneca Mountain Wind proposal from Eolian Renewable Energy LLC.

On a postcard that was sent out by Eolian to the about 500 voters of the UTG there is a list of so-called environmental groups that appear to support the proposal. I do not know if they do support the proposal or if Eolian asked for permission to use their names. There is a quote on the postcard from VPIRG: “Tapping VT’s wind resources is essential if we are to meet the state’s long-term clean energy goals. Moreover, most VTers agree that it’s the responsible thing to do rather than relying on other dirtier energy and transmit it to VT to meet our needs.”

Castleton pollsters have disclosed that when broken down the poll clearly shows that only in areas where there are no wind proposals are the majority of people in favor of industrial wind. The fact is that in all of the areas where there are proposals the majority of people are against industrial wind.

As I stated, I do not know if these groups know that they are a part of this mailer (VPIRG, Conservation Law Foundation, Sierra Club, 350VT, Vermont Natural Resources Council, Citizens Awareness Network, National Wildlife Federation’s Northeast Regional Center). What I do know is that none of them have come out against this environmentally unsound proposal in what is one of the highest value wildlife habitat blocks in the state. The taxpayers have spent millions of dollars to preserve wildlife and wilderness in this area, not to mention the fact there is no transmission capacity in the area.

The governor has stated to me personally that he does not think that this project should or will move forward. Yet he has not been willing to say it publicly, nor has the ANR whose mission statement says that their purpose is to protect this very resource.

If the governor, the Secretary of the ANR and the leaders of these environmental groups really care about the environment, it is time to do your job and come out against this project and the environmental damage that it will do if it proceeds. It is time to say there are places in Vermont that should not have industrial wind and that this is one of them.

This commentary is by Democratic Sen. John S. Rodgers of Glover, who represents the Essex/Orleans District in the Vermont Senate.