Teddy Roosevelt set aside the national forests for the use of all of the citizens of this great country. He did it, because he saw that big business was moving in to despoil the wilderness and make money off what he, rightly, saw as a public commons.
For decades the governors of Vermont have refused to let private corporations profit from our commonly held land. Shumlin has allowed a Spanish conglomerate (Avangrid, AKA Iberdola) to make a huge profit off of our forest land. He has done this in the name of renewable energy for Vermont. Shumlin wants Vermont to play its part in decreasing global warming. But is this really the way to do it?
Vermont’s contribution to decreasing global warming is its stewardship of its forestland. Its trees and streams act as a sponge for carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In contrast, razing the forest, paving the ridge lines, and putting in immense concrete footings destroys the carbon sequestration of the forest cover forever, and requires an immense amount of carbon emitting machinery. What is green about this activity?
Shumlin says that the wind energy is green and helps Vermont. Well, not exactly. First, the carbon footprint used to create an industrial wind farm would take many decades to pay off in wind generation. Second, the Vermont electric grid cannot accept this extra generating capacity and has no batteries with which to store it. Third, the credits that come to the state as a result of having wind generation, are being sold to other states, so they don’t have to create green energy themselves. What is wrong with this picture?
There is no advantage to Vermont in this activity. We lose our forest. We create more carbon dioxide. We get no more electricity coming into our grid. Who benefits? Iberdola. Their benefit comes in huge federal tax breaks. This is your money and my money going to a Spanish conglomerate. Shumlin has gained some contributions to his campaigns, past and future. We have lost something precious and irretrievable. The word immoral comes to mind. As Fish would say, “What the hell is up with that?”
Sally Warren and Susie Peters, Grafton and Saxtons River, Sept. 22
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