When was the last time you fought for something and gave up? Did a bad boss make you leave a job you loved? Maybe a personal relationship you spent years trying to make work? We’ve all been through something like this once, maybe more. For the last year we’ve been fighting to save our home, our investment, and, our future health.
Why give up fighting to save your home and health? Because of what we witnessed during the recent legislative session regarding senate renewable energy bill S.230. Ever been involved in Vermont legislation, I mean really involved? There’s a lot to it, and I wanted to respect the process, the give and take, the negotiations between Democrats and Republicans and their different opinions, and finally, the compromise. After all, life, and those other scenarios I mentioned include compromise. We wish compromise would have happened regarding S.230.
The “green vesters” group only wants to protect our environment and respect our communities. We want to create renewable energy goals in a collaborative Vermont way, not the 90% by 2050 goal with no clear roadmap how to achieve it. How do you achieve a goal that huge without involving our municipal leaders, our regional planning commissions, our local planning commissions and our communities? You don’t, because it’s impossible to do and going through the process made it crystal clear what the real goal is. The real goal isn’t about renewable energy, it’s about money, it’s about bragging rights of being renewable, the latter an outright lie that the Attorney General’s office has finally admitted. Did you know, Vermont sells almost all the renewable energy credits (RECs) out of state, therefore, unable to claim that we’re renewable? They sell them at a higher rate, then buy the energy back at a lower rate, claiming to be saving money. It’s nothing more than a shell game that is destroying Vermont’s environment and seriously harming people’s health and welfare.
Over the past year a rebellion is growing. There are now 162 municipalities signed on to the Rutland Town Resolution demanding more say in the siting process. Does anybody in Montpelier care? They’ve proposed to give municipalities more say after they jump through hoops and gain approval from the Department of Public Service, who will develop criteria that must be followed. Now, you may say, well that’s not so bad and you’re right, to a degree. The point is why did it come to this? These municipalities who work so hard on their communities behalf feel betrayed, not respected, and are being treated like they can’t be trusted to work within their own communities along with their Regional Planning Commission to come up with suitable places for renewable energy to be located. Much of that work is already taking place.
Victims of industrial wind is a subject that’s been swept under the rug far too long. People have abandoned their homes and many still suffer. When the PFOA water contamination happened, the legislature acted quickly, as they should have. How can no one care about these wind victims? And no one does, not the Department of Public Service, the Public Service Board or the Department of Health. And certainly not the Governor and many legislators, particularly the Chairs of the House and Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committees, Tony Klein, and Chris Bray. The legislators that care worked very hard to do the right thing, with little success. Yet, a small miracle happened when the bill was sorta good. It passed the House unanimously and the Senate, all but 3 votes. The green vesters were there daily. We heard testimony from victims of industrial wind and upset municipalities. Legislators knew they had pushed the envelope too far and needed to fix things, to make it right, to admit their mistakes. But the lobbyists run the show and have a very strong influence on many legislators and the Administration. This is no exaggeration, it is blatantly obvious how much “regulatory capture” has taken place in Montpelier regarding the renewable energy industry. It was a type of war, except the weapon was a pen, a change of words, the removal of language to protect victims, replaced with words to aid wind developers. It took place face to face in committee rooms, in hallways, through text, emails and occasional strong conversations, along with begging and pleading for them to care. But they don’t care and that is why there are so many unanswered complaints and open dockets by wind sufferers at various agencies. They’re okay that developers make millions of dollars and homeowners go bankrupt fighting for their lives.
This week we’ll learn the fate of S.230. Will the Governor veto it? Will legislators override the veto and dare I say, actually improve the bill, restoring the sound standards to the unanimous votes, or will they water it down further ensuring their wind friends aren’t affected by a protective sound standard? Will they let it die and waste 5 months of tax payers money and endless testimony? Will they dismiss dissent from 162 municipalities? We’ll have our answers soon.
This is why we’ve thought of giving up the fight. The monster is so big and supported by people in power. But the power of the people gives us strength and hope. And without hope, you have nothing to live for.
Please help stop this madness. Make sure you vote for someone who cares about protecting you from the harmful effects of industrial wind.
Sally & Bruce Collopy have lived in Fairfield, Vermont for 16 years. They are currently involved in the fight against Swanton Wind, the proposed seven, 499’ foot industrial wind turbines. These turbines would be the largest in the state placed closest to homes. This would severely impact local residents health and impair the water quality of beautiful Fairfield Pond; the Collopys have led the pond association for 15 years.
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