Letter to the editor: Support for renewable energy does matter In elections

Support for renewable energy does matter In elections

Last week's primary election proved once again that Vermonters support renewable energy, including wind power, and want their elected officials to demonstrate strong leadership on climate change. Wind power became a central issue in the Democratic primary and the candidate that best articulated the benefits of wind power for Vermont, Sue Minter, handily won.

It was widely agreed upon by campaign officials, pundits and the media that the Democratic primary race between Matt Dunne and Sue Minter would be neck and neck, a real nail biter. That is until two weeks before Election Day when Matt Dunne clarified his position on wind energy in Vermont, announcing his newfound belief that host communities should have veto power over any wind power project and questioned the environmental impacts of wind. Vermont's environmental community and renewable energy advocates swiftly denounced this announcement

While host communities should absolutely have a voice in the decision making process, to give them veto power, would be the end of renewable energy generation in Vermont.

There are many public works projects that impact local communities but also impact the state, region and the entire nation. If local communities were given veto power over such project's America would not enjoy interstates, electrical poles and wires and countless other critical infrastructure developments that have been key to our country's progress.

Renewable energy generation does impact local communities and their voice should be heard but state wide planning and state wide energy needs also need to be taken into account. The state has committed to a goal of reaching 90% renewable energy by 2050. In order to reach this goal, fight climate change and reduce our dependence on foreign fossil fuels we will need to site a variety of renewable energy generation in out state's borders, including wind.

Thankfully, the majority of Vermonters recognize this principle and acknowledge that wind is good for the environment, our planet and our economy. Most Vermonters understand that unless we build renewables and be a part of the solution our kids, our environment and our wildlife will all pay the price. Poll-after-poll shows that the majority of Vermonters support wind energy right here in our state.

Unfortunately, despite this data, the media and many elected officials write stories and even attempt to develop policies based upon the concerns, fears and misinformation spread by a small yet incredibly vocal and influential group of anti renewable energy activists. Last week's election should end the debate over how prevalent this anti-renewable sentiment is in Vermont. While anti renewable activists may dominate social media, news stories, comments and even legislative committee hearings, they represent a small minority and the time has come to right size their influence.

— Rep. Tony Klein, chair of the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee Montpelier


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