Letters 6 – 27 – 2012

Is Vermont’s energy policy really on track?

Is anything in Vermont written about or discussed as much as energy? It’s important to our environment, our paychecks, and to subtle things like our sense of “who we are” – citizens of the Green Mountain State.

But is Vermont really on the right track in terms of preparing for its future energy needs? The state is spending millions developing solar and wind projects for the sake of fulfilling a lofty renewable energy goal that will only lead to reduced electric reliability and higher rates. Right now these projects make up way less than 10 percent of Vermont’s electricity, leaving us to rely mostly on imported power – mainly natural gas – to meet our energy needs. The good thing about this is that this energy is relatively cheap because natural gas prices are at historically low levels. Unfortunately, by relying on out-of-state energy sources, we are doing nothing to boost job growth within our state, as well as “passing the buck” of fossil fuel environmental impacts.

One bright note is that Vermont Yankee is still running, churning out zero-emissions power and Vermont jobs. I would love to see Vermont return to the days where it relied on home-grown energy. But the first step towards that type of energy future must be for Vermont to support instate, 24/7 power plants rather than try to shut them down.

Heather Sheppard

Cambridge, VT

Dr. Mathis’ prior history (Response to school choice piece)

Dr. Mathis has a bit of prior history on the school-privatization question, with respect to Whiting, one of the towns in the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union of which he was Superintendent. During his tenure voter/taxpayer dissatisfaction rose to the point where a grass-roots privatization movement arose, and according to town residents I knew there (I was a long-time resident of next-door Sudbury) it was discouraged by Mathis telling them of supposed State and federal requirements which would have made going private both illegal and unaffordable – on special ed, for example, and meeting State oversight requirements, both of which, at second-hand, sounded very non-existent to me. He succeeded in discouraging the privatization effort. I don’t know whether an accurate history of that sequence of events can be written up by some devoted researcher, but I suspect that it would show that he succeeded by mis-stating the rules.

by Martin Harris

 

Events

Thursday June 28: Navigating Vermont’s Path to Health Care Reform 8:00 AM – 10:30 AM Hilton 60 Battery St. Burlington. To register visit: http://mvpburlington.eventbrite.com.

Saturday July 7: Green Mountain Patriot’s monthly meeting. 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM. Map and directions

 

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