Peter Shumlin, fresh from not doing much, has recently been called upon by the Caledonia County Democratic Committee “to re-evaluate the state’s energy policy and, in particular, protect areas of high elevation from wind development projects.” (H/T: The Caledonian Record) Translation: Even stalwart and trusty Democrats are tired of seeing turbines on their hometown ridgelines.
Committee member Keith Ballek of Sheffield lists seven items he wants to see both the legislature and the governor address, but let’s be honest here – this policy is Shumlin’s baby, all the way. Some of the highlights from the committee are:
1. Reassess Vermont’s energy policy.
I would argue that this should have been done before what we currently have was put into effect. Perhaps we should reassess Vermont’s politics first, but one big bite of work at a time, please. I always love the guy who shows up late to the party and wonders why he didn’t get an invite.
2. Make appropriate changes to Statute 248 to account for high elevation power projects that are attentive and accountable on issues of environmental destruction, wildlife habitat, and human health impacts.
Considering how quickly so many animal-rights and plants-rights and bats-rights groups seem to get in a twist whenever a lean-to is constructed in “pristine” Vermont land, it’s still pretty amazing to see windmills on Vermont hillsides. Let me just summarize the historical Democrat thinking here: Condos – No! Windfarms – Yes!
But now: Windfarms – No!
OK. Got it now. Clear as mud season.
3. Propose a transparent, sustainable energy policy that:
a. Addresses Vermont’s dominant sources of carbon dioxide emissions, which are heating and transportation;
I’m not sure how one “addresses” how Vermonters heat their homes, unless by “address”, the Committee authors mean “Tell Vermonters that they can’t use heating oil or gas anymore”. If the Committee wants to address the side effects of transportation, just keep endorsing Shumlin’s economic policies, because we won’t need roads anymore to go to work. Although out-of-work people probably stay home more, and will need the heat on more in the winter. Damn, this is confusing. Can a windmill fix this problem? Or a subsidy?
b. Addresses electricity needs by encouraging small, low-impact power generation that does not add to greenhouse gas emissions;
Here’s one – Micro Nuclear Reactors. These can be constructed and installed today (hey, is there stimulus money still available to build out this infrastructure?), greatly reduce the need for transmission lines because they’re local, and you lose less energy in the transmission. However I remain unconvinced that Shumlin would endorse such an idea. For some reason. Perhaps I’m just skeptical.
c. Eliminates selling pollution credits to fossil fuel-burning power plants;
As soon as subsidies end to wind turbine manufacturers – sure!
d. Preserves the irreplaceable ecosystems of Vermont’s highest elevations.
If a wildfire swept through the “irreplaceable ecosystems” of Vermont’s highest elevations, would it be Peter’s fault, too? I have news for the Committee – everything that exists today replaced something that was previously irreplaceable.
A preface to the resolution, prepared by Ballek, states, “Vermont’s mountains have always been a cherished natural resource, with their high elevation, streams and wetlands, and wildlife habitat, and providing our watershed.“
Even when Vermont’s mountains were stripped nearly bare by busily munching sheep? I guess Ballek has failed to read Vermont history, or thinks all the mills that dot the Winooski were put there by real estate speculators in 1920, knowing they’d make a killing 80 years hence.
Oh, and as for the “irreplaceable” Ballek mentioned, we replaced sheep with cows in Vermont and the denuded Vermont mountains grew back green again. 1896 and 2008. Who replaced all those tree? A Democratic Party campaign bundler?
Ballek continues: “These mountains are enjoyed by Vermonters and visitors alike for the natural beauty of her viewshed. They are a vital link to Vermont’s clean environment as well as to our state’s economy. Vermont has in recent decades set high environmental standards, protecting our landscape from overexploitation by corporate interests.”
What Ballek fails to mention are political interests – how has Vermont, and Vermonters, been exploited by the political class? In tiredly touting Vermont as some kind of environmental safe zone where only pure nectar, honey, and cow offal oozes forth from the natural wellsprings of true Vermon
tdom that are based, somewhere, deep in the bones of Mt. Mansfield, well – what we’re really doing is ensuring that every Vermonter can look forward to a diminished economic future.
Worse, the ridiculous consequences of these types of “green” policies have been demonstrating their unadulterated insanity for years now, and are coming home to roost – in forms so ridiculous they read like Onion parodies, but are in fact real. In Britain, they’re building diesel generator parks to shore up intermittent and unreliable “green” energy, because wishful political thinking does not translate well to the realities of physics.
Finally, ask reformed flatlander Bill McKibben what he thinks of solar cells now, and perhaps we’ll all find fewer Vermonters worshipping at the altar of green energy – and fewer flatlanders, too.