Smith vindicated

Accused by an adversary attorney of practicing law without a license while assisting citizens opposing wind-turbine developers, environmentalist Annette Smith, in behalf of all Vermonters, has been vindicated by Attorney General Sorrell.

"Any definition of the practice of law must recognize the diversity of advocacy before different forums at the state and local levels, should not abridge First Amendment rights, and should insure that Vermonters have access to justice" (Vermont Attorney General's Office, press release, Feb. 8, 2016).

The Vermont Public Service Department, however, still officially "represents" citizens before the Vermont Public Service Board, and Act 248 still officially preempts Act 250 to permit ridgeline development by towering industrial wind turbines with their paved access roads and sprawling transmission lines.

Because the Public Service Department cannot represent citizens opposing its recommendations, it is time to limit it to expertly providing impartial information to everyone and technical advice to the Public Service Board.

It also is time to restore Act 250 to its primacy preserving and protecting iconic landscapes, without which Vermont would no longer be Vermont, by amending Act 248 to require Act 250 permits and due process including citizens' participation, assisted as they choose.


— Howard Fairman Putney