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Shumlin Should Curb Arrogance

October 31, 2012

Opinion: Rutland Herald – Rutland, VT

October 31,2012

Gov. Shumlin’s recent scornful and intemperate remarks regarding folks concerned about mountaintop destruction (“Candidates take opposite tacks on energy,” Vermont Press Bureau, Oct. 24) detract from a rational debate about what is emerging as perhaps Vermont’s greatest environmental battle of the decade.

The governor has many laudable ideas. For example, the deliberative process he has established for health reform is commendable. What is not admirable, however, is his palpable arrogance toward people who challenge him. Two weeks ago, he insulted journalists probing his recent land deal in East Montpelier. This week, when confronting criticisms about industrial wind’s assault of Vermont’s mountains, he lashed out at critics, calling them “the committee against virtually everything.”

Vermont needs an urgent and informed debate for dealing with climate change. Yet it is hard to have such a discussion when Vermonters who adopt views contrary to the governor’s are dismissed with an imperial wave of the hand.

Back in the mid-1960s, several prominent Vermonters sounded alarms about development above the environmentally fragile 2,500-foot level of our mountains. They included Hub Vogelmann of UVM, Bob “Mr. Audubon” Spear, and Shirley Strong, first female president of the Green Mountain Club. Their work helped lead to the 2,500-foot standard in Act 250. Their findings and concerns remain relevant and deserve consideration. I shudder to think what Peter Shumlin would have said about them.


Essex Junction



One Comment leave one →
  1. Vanessa permalink
    October 31, 2012 11:20 pm

    Governor Shumlin is not allowing for critical thinking nor is he allowing for folks to be proactively developing and offering input. He has an agenda for ridgelines in VT. Period. He is disrespectfully dismissive to the people of this state. He wants to resort to petty name-calling of citizens who want to be able to raise questions and offer responsive solutions to climate change. He wants to dismiss the invested and awake citizen! He wants to malign people who are willing to think critically and who are willing to stand up and question him. He doesn’t think we deserve answers. He doesn’t think he has to provide them. He repeats the same tired mantras and reveals that he’s not wlistening to any discourse. He doesn’t have to: he’s GOVERNOR, right? Is that right?? Is it??? Do vermonters have a right to be awake with questions? We need healthy debate and active critical thinkers in the process of developing solutions. We need to practice measures of conservation and preservation if we are to respond proactively to climate change issues. We need to protect intact ecosystems instead of tearing these open and altering these and impacting the sensitive balance therein! We need ot understand that fragile ecosystems serve the purpose of maintaining balance for ALL LIFE on the planet. And that intact forested lands are carbon sinks and this helps us to be responsive to emissions (human-created and otherwise!) Again: BALANCE!!!
    We need to understand that we should be protecting the upland & lowland watersheds and water quality and not disturbing this delicate and purposefully-functioning balance as well!
    This is imperative for being responsive to what results from storm frequency and severity of rain events! Preserve how functioning and naturally-existing watersheds naturally WORK!
    Don’t disturb these with tearing up mountains, building roadways by moving tonnages of blasted ridge rock, and so then filling headwater streams and altering upland watershed processes! Don’t affect water quality in underground aquifers by blasting and deeply drilling into mountain bedrock for turbine pedestal installations. WE NEED to think critically about how to respond to climate change issues. In real & meaningful ways. Healthy, open public discourse is needed. Politicians who continue to disregard the impacts are part of the problem NOT part of the solution. It is THEY who keep the public from developing & offering their proactive solutions as input—while they label the good people ‘reactive!’ Further, with regard to ridgeline destruction and corporate- and utility-scale wind: It is NOT anything other than reactive to simply “build ’em as fast as we can”, consequences and undue impacts be damned!

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