Letters 6 – 8 – 2011

Electric cars aren’t necessarily low carbon  

The governor’s website says his new Climate Cabinet will “identify strategies to reduce Vermonters’ dependence on fossil fuel for transportation, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging alternatively fueled vehicles and more efficient vehicle and mobility choices.”

I like electric cars. But cars recharged with high-carbon electricity aren’t really low-carbon, are they? Exchanging thousands of little exhaust pipes for several huge smokestacks still means carbon, smog and acid rain. Out of sight, out of mind but not out of lungs!

Vermont already has domestic, reliable, 24/7 carbon-free power sufficient to recharge tens of thousands of electric cars: Vermont Yankee. We don’t need to give away jobs and money to Seabrook and Hydro-Québec. Renewables? If they can ever carry the heavy load, it won’t be for at least 10-20 years. To maintain otherwise ignores what is. By insisting on Vermont Yankee’s closure, the governor is hamstringing his own climate cabinet.

Environmental change happens more smoothly if the consumer isn’t harmed. If Vermont Yankee is replaced with the New England grid’s natural gas power, Vermonters will pay and pollute more over the next 20 years. We’ll also miss those instate jobs and taxes. Both environmentally and economically, the goal of reducing carbon is more achievable if Vermont Yankee stays open. Here’s hoping the new cabinet considers both climate and consumer and takes another look at the benefits of Vermont Yankee.

– Heather Sheppard



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