Prior to the Thursday, March 31, vote in the Vermont Senate on amendments to S.230, an article appeared in Seven Days asking if Sen. Chris Bray could solve Vermont’s siting problems with large commercial wind and solar projects. We now know the answer is ‘no.’ On Page 16 of this Seven Days article, a photo shows Senator Bray with his foxhounds wearing his 21st century Downton Abbey attire. The accuracy and credibility of the British elite portrayed in Downton Abbey have been “falsely portrayed as being class conscious,” according to Polly Toynbee of The Guardian. “None of Downton Abbey’s social liberalism is remotely credible of the era.” She also compares modern capitalism as promoting the same myth, the “myth that we are all masters of our fate, birth is not destiny. … With the swelling of wealth at the top” we are all aware of the influence this concentrated wealth has.
This fundamental aspect in today’s society, the fact that the wealthy influence political policy, was evident at the State House in Montpelier on March 31. Senator Bray, during discussion of amendments to S.230, kept leaving the Senate chamber to consult with lobbyists from the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG). Vermont Public Interest is a misnomer as this organization represents their funding sources – one of which happens to be the wind industry. The VPIRG executive director, Paul Burns, acts as a conductor directing the orchestra to play the requests of their contributors and Senator Bray was waltzing. Senator Campion and Senator Zuckerman were also in attendance standing on the edge of the dance floor with preprinted dance cards.
With towns crying out for more local say in large commercial renewable energy projects, Senator Bray voted his conscience. He was conscious of the $1,163 that the wind industry had given him towards his campaign and voted accordingly.
The Vermont Senate voted to strengthen its control over localities by giving the public service commissioner, an appointed position, the power to certify regional plans leaving communities at the political mercy of the governor.
Senator Bray, I hope you and Senator Campion enjoy the quiet and serenity of this summer as you work in your gardens while we, the proletariat, are forced to stay inside with our windows closed. You denied Vermonters the protection of noise monitoring at a cost of approximately $50,000, not the $250,000 cost that VPIRG, GMP, REV and Iberdrola scared you with.
I leave you with a quote of my own: “When the herdsman has been herded, the wolves have won.”
Also published by the Addison County Independent, April 14: “Senator allegedly bought for $1,163”
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