A perfect storm

To the Editor:

Why are differing opinions regarding the Big Wind debate so entrenched?

Those who consider themselves "green crusaders" think that as long as we produce electricity with wind turbines (collateral damage be damned) we're doing the right thing. They'll all tell you: "We have to do something." Which really means they'll settle for anything, as long as they're convinced it's green. (The road to hades paved with the best of intentions.) Entrenched? Yes.

Then there are those with an obsessive desire for money driven by a ruthlessness that will stop at nothing. It's perfectly OK by them to pub butt-ugly turbines on our ridgelines. They couldn't care less if there are not places left to experience a breath-taking moonrise because of all the flashing red lights that pollute what would otherwise be a beautiful thing to behold. To them, nothing will ever matter more than money. Entrenched? Of course!

And of course, there are politicians who consider themselves beholden to their cronies and lobbyists and who talk at us with imbecilic catch phrases like "green jobs" and "shovel-ready." Entrenched? Yes! (if they think it'll get them re-elected).

Then there are those of us who live here and understand and respect the beauty that's all around us (myself included). We don't live here because of low taxes, high wages or the cost of living. Most of us live there (along with our seasonal neighbors) because we know this is a very special part of the world. We're practical people who think it's wrong to destroy the tops of Lowell and Georgia Mountains with turbines (and the massive infrastructures that support them) and transmit the power all the way to Jay Peak and Burlington when both locations have plenty of wind.

It doesn't take a psychic to know why they don't want turbines in their own backyards. And we don't think developers and power companies should be entitled to "can't lose" deals knowing full well it'll be us who'll have to ball them out ultimately. (We're not impressed with their grandiosely-stated claims of power production.) We also think it's wrong for the political class to design and encourage a format that creates a stampede and get-rich-quick climate that overshadows any consideration for the inevitable consequences. (If they fail, there won't be any sweet deals given for taking down the turbines resulting in endless litigation.) And without question, we now we stand to lose something we cherish very deeply. Entrenched? Oh yeah!

Question: Has anybody ever regretted the fact that Vermonters soundly turned down the proposal made back in the great depression to build a "Green Mountain highway" along our ridges?

Yes, there's a very contentious debate between entrenched factions going on these days. To me, it feels like a perfect storm fueled by extreme ideology, political manipulation, insatiable greed and a deep resolve to protect and preserve this beautiful state. I don't see the resulting rancor going away any time son unless clear thinking and fairness are given a place at the table.

Roland Tougas

Milton & Newark, Vt.


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