Letter: Land Trust neglects Southern Vermont
To the Editor:
The U.S. is losing 6,000 acres of open space to development every day, according to the Trust for Public Land. The Vermont Land Trust (VLT) is working to protect open space, which is one of the best ways to stop climate change. Over the past decade, VLT — which get most of its funding from taxpayers all over Vermont — has focused its efforts much more heavily in the northern part of the state, versus the four southern counties of Vermont.
In the past decade, the four counties of southern Vermont got 20 percent of the land protection. Those four counties make up 35 percent of the land area of the state. None of the 14 people on VLT's board live in the state's two southernmost counties, Windham and Bennington. Just three of the 14 board members live in southern Vermont. The state gave VLT $6.3 million last fiscal year. This year's state budget is $6 billion. Comments from VLT's president, and two state senators, about the south-north disparity are at ValleyPost.org.
Farmland and forestland protection has been so effective in Europe that, even in rural areas, people don't need to own a car. The vast majority of people in rural parts of Europe live in downtowns where one can walk or ride a bike to work, school, shopping, forest hiking trails and places to walk or bike surrounded by farmland. They usually travel by train for longer trips. Multi-family housing of the kind found in downtown Brattleboro is inherently more energy efficient than single-family houses. Apartments can be fancy; in New York City, millionaires live in apartments.
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