Democratic Underground Spots “Cronyism” in Shumlin’s Energy Plan.

I got an e-mail last night that provided a bit of a surprise.  Apparently “Democratic Underground“, a left left wing site that supports the Progressive wing of the Democratic Party, does not like what it considers cronyism in Shumlin’s effort to: “fill energy gap left by Vermont Yankee“.  They start of by quoting a recent article by Meredith Angwin:

The Vermont Department of Public Service (DPS) has issued a draft Comprehensive Energy Plan for Vermont, and they have opened it for public comment. This document covers all types of energy use in Vermont: home heating, transportation, electricity. It is the document Governor Shumlin wanted: Vermont without Vermont Yankee. Now the DPS is asking for public comments on the document.”

The meat of the electricity plan is actually in the Home Heating Section. This section calls for increased use of natural gas for heating, and expansion of natural gas pipelines….’Natural gas can address two key needs: reduce Vermonter’s reliance on overseas oil for heating and for heavy fleet transportation, and help fill a gap in electric supply.’ Wow. The home heating section is the one place where the plan admits to a gap in the electricity supply. And the cure is a longer gas pipeline from Canada.

This prompts a question from those over at DU: “Canada? Why does that ring a bell?”  They address the question with another quote from a “Seven Days” article:

Gov. Peter Shumlin seems to have taken sides in the bidding war between rival Canadian firms vying to buy Central Vermont Public Service. ‘At first glance, I believe this proposal has value for Vermonters and for job creation,’ Shumlin said of the Gaz Métro offer, which would create one giant Vermont utility. CVPS is Vermont’s largest utility; GMP (Green Mountain Power, already a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gaz Métro) is the second largest. A merged utility would serve almost two-thirds of the state.”

Of course this just set off more bells at DU: “Gaz Métro…ding. Another bell.”  Speaking of Gaz Metro, Seven days had this to say:

“I’m sure it’s a coincidence that GMP’s CEO Mary Powell is the face of Gaz Métro’s offer.

Powell chaired Shumlin’s inaugural ball that raised nearly $190,000 from private and corporate sponsors; she also attended the $5000-per-plate presidential fundraiser last week on Burlington’s waterfront. In other words, she’s a political player.

Months after Powell organized Shumlin’s inaugural ball, he endorsed GMP’s massive wind-power project on Lowell Mountain. The gov said Powell’s fundraising efforts had absolutely no bearing on his enthusiasm for wind power.

And I’m sure Shumlin’s ga-ga response to the GMP offer was pure coincidence.”

DU concludes with the following: “Less than a week later Gaz Métro got their wish – on July 11 they bought CVPS and became the biggest energy player in the state. Now that big whooshing sound you hear ain’t wind turbines – it’s gas flowing in from Canada and money and jobs flowing out of Vermont. It’s money filling deep pockets faster than CO2 can blow from a smokestack“.

It is no longer just conservatives and Republicans who smell something fishy when it comes to Shumlin’s political maneuvering.