Bernie’s betrayed us

By Garret Keizer
[Times Argus/Rutland Herald, March 31, 2013]

Consult a chart that ranks Vermont communities on the basis of per-capita income, and compare it to a list of those communities slated to receive so-called wind farms.

I direct you to the bottom of the list, where virtually all of those communities can be found.

… I am against the exploitive use of those projects to generate excessive profits and political capital for the likes of First Wind and Peter Shumlin — to say nothing of unearned rectitude for “the majority of Vermonters who support wind energy” in the full knowledge that they’re likelier to see a UFO over Lake Champlain than a wind tower on Shelburne Point. I am also against a permitting process that ignores not only the town plans of small communities, but also the setback standards recommended by the wind industry itself.

… I marvel at your holding a press conference to oppose a temporary moratorium on industrial wind development but no such conference of which I am aware to oppose the Shumlin administration’s attacks on social programs and local school budgets, or to support the unionization of child-care workers or the right of a journalist like Chris Braithwaite to exercise his First Amendment function without being harassed at the behest of a power company. Why the comment on the one and the silence on the others?

[Is] the explanation to be found in the simple fact that you can more easily afford to alienate people who live in places like Newark and Island Pond than the people whose enormous carbon footprints are matched only by the fat checks they write to Greenpeace and the Nature Conservancy and to those politicians who offer them the same cheap righteousness as the checks do?

Global climate change … is a curious “crisis,” is it not? The word ought to be written in neon like the flashing sign for a bar and grill. When a corporation stands to turn a tidy profit from a wind project, the “crisis” light goes on. When the L.L. Bean crowd is preparing to take their annual flight to Tuscany, off it goes. When you drive the murderous stretch of Route 89 from Montpelier to Burlington, when you search for a parking space at Burlington International Airport, when you walk down the Great White Way of the Church Street Mall, do you have any sense whatsoever of a crisis, of a population resolved to save the planet no matter the cost? But when wind towers are about to go up in Newark, where it’s too dark at night to see your hand in front of your face, then there’s an apocalyptic crisis that brooks no delay!

… We are passing the costs of sustainable energy development to the people who often have the smallest carbon footprints. They are vilified as “not-in-my-backyard types” by people who are never in their backyards, though they may own several and light them up like Fenway Park.

For another thing, we are addressing global climate change with the same grandiosity that gave us the problem to begin with. Our agenda is so important, you see, so pressing, that we can’t stop to consider the welfare of small communities, small ecosystems, small people, small pleasures — the same arguments we’ve used for the Red Scare, the War on Terror, the rape of West Virginia, and the Spanish Inquisition. We have big problems to solve (and big bucks to make) and no luxury to deal with petty scruples. …


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