Democratic gubernatorial candidate Peter Galbraith has drawn fire from some environmental groups for his opposition to large-scale wind energy projects.
But Galbraith says global climate change is the biggest long-term issue facing the state of Vermont. And he says more investments in energy conservation are the best way to respond to this crisis.
Galbraith has proposed banning all future industrial wind projects in Vermont and he also wants to give local communities more authority to regulate large solar projects.
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His positions are strongly opposed by a number of environmental groups who argue that power from wind and solar is needed to help Vermont meet its renewable energy goals – goals that were adopted by lawmakers to help the state reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.
Galbraith argues that developing new wind projects is not the best way to deal with issues surrounding climate change.
“I think global warming is the most serious long-term problem that our planet faces,” says Galbraith. “But that does not mean every proposed solution makes sense. The trouble with the ridgeline wind projects is that they are located in what are environmentally the most sensitive places in the state.”
Galbraith says he supports an expansion of solar projects as long as individual communities have the authority to determine where and if they should be built.
“The Public Service Board shouldn’t just come in and take an area of prime agricultural land, an area that is part of the scenic values of the town, and just say well this is where a large solar development should go when it’s opposed by the people of the town,” he said.
And Galbraith says the most effective way to reduce carbon emissions in Vermont is to invest more in energy conservation programs.
“Dollar for dollar,” he says, “efficiency and conservation are the most effective way to combat global climate change in Vermont to combat global warming but we don’t make an appropriate investment in it.”
Energy concerns could emerge as a top issue in the Democratic gubernatorial race.
That’s because Galbraith’s two opponents, former Transportation Secretary Sue Minter and former state Sen. Matt Dunne both support a more robust use of renewable energy.
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