Nancy Tips: State Senator Anthony Pollina and the Politics of Devastation

This comment is from Windham resident Nancy Tips.

Ooooh. Not yet. Outgoing State Senator Anthony Pollina, in his recent opinion piece, attempts to revive the old trope that opponents of industrial wind power in Vermont don’t want wind turbines because of the possibility of these machines spoiling their beautiful and expensive views.

In part, this misconception can be attributed to Governor Phil Scott, whom I hold in the highest regard. Governor Scott is a great guy, except for one small thing: he seems to believe that the potential for a spoiled view is the big issue driving Vermont’s powerful opposition to industrial wind power.

This is not the case. No indeed. Most opponents of industrial wind power that I know do not think about their point of view. Instead, we denounce the environmental devastation of wind turbine installations on sensitive and pristine ridgelines, the destruction of communities by the wind industry’s ruthless divisive tactics, and the unfairness of efforts to install wind turbines. very close to the homes of the real Vermonters. Among several other problems.

I admit I was surprised by Anthony’s list of the devastating effects of Hydro-Quebec, with which he hopes to guilt the good-hearted people who drive electric cars in Vermont. But I note that of course the terrible impacts he cites are only devastating in Canada, but only catastrophic when the wind industry brings them to Vermont.

It might be instructive to take a close look at his list of various Hydro-Quebec sins and see the possibility that those sins could also be pretty nasty if they showed up in his utopian wind-powered Vermont:

  • “Changing the course of rivers”: Hmmm, that sounds pretty bad, okay, and it happens to be a pretty likely possibility for us here in the flood-prone hills, especially given the huge impermeable area which must be created for a “profitable” (read “large”) wind installation in this difficult terrain.
  • “Flood an area the size of New York State”: Well, that’s a bit of a stretch, but flooding remains the #1 potential natural disaster for us in fragile hill towns, given the proliferation of watercourses and their propensity to turn into raging torrents, under a good regular shower (see the first point above). The transformation of the ridges into vast concrete fields with wide access roads is a recipe for disaster in these hills. On this subject, Anthony might want to check the experiments near the industrial wind farm at Lowell, if he remains in doubt on this subject.
  • “Displacing Thousands of Natives”: No good, no doubt about it. But I wonder if Anthony cares to displace Vermont residents who have bought homes we thought were safe, and now find we are being illegally taken, without compensation, by a ruthless wind industry that is free to ignore. collateral damage (i.e. us)? You might want to talk to real Vermonters, Anthony, turbine neighbors whose names are easy to come by and whose lives have been badly affected by their proximity to the noise, vibration and flicker of shadows.
  • “Raise mercury levels in fish”: Dang, nobody wants that. But while Anthony laments the environmental poisoning resulting from energy production, I wish he would shed a few tears for the damage caused by the rapacious and toxic mining of heavy metals needed to build the turbines. And I’d be really interested to hear how he decides which environmental degradation is an acceptable collateral cost, and which isn’t.
  • “Emitting greenhouse gases”: Golly is terrible. But what about the huge expenditure on fossil fuels required by the extraction and production of raw materials, the transport, assembly, maintenance, dismantling and disposal of wind turbines, as well as the use of fossil fuels as backup when the wind is not blowing?
  • And of course, my favorite: “Forever changing the land, the ecosystem and the culture.” I couldn’t have said it better, Anthony. This is exactly what has happened and would continue to happen in Vermont communities with the arrival of so-called “wind farms”.

And by the way, no carp, but Anthony’s closure is wrong. There is a large wind turbine proposed for Vermont, in Stamford, a 2.2 MW proposal by Norwich Solar Technologies. We warriors of the wind cannot afford to rest on our laurels.

It would be really nice if Anthony Pollina’s point of view was really ‘progressive’ and not meaningless ‘green’.

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