Gasoline magnate Skip Vallee is lashing out once again at Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — this time targeting the senator for opposing a moratorium on industrial wind development.
The Maplefields owner and gasoline distributor has ponied up $10,000 to run a new, 30-second attack ad on WCAX-TV for a week, according to the station. In it, Vallee accuses Sanders of seeking to "industrialize our mountains with giant wind turbines."
"Once we sacrifice our mountains to big corporate interests, it will change Vermont forever," the ad's narrator says. "Tell Bernie Sanders we won't let him and his corporate cronies spoil our Green Mountains."
The ad appears to be referring to a press conference Sanders held in January to express his opposition to a proposed three-year moratorium on industrial wind development in Vermont. The state legislature has since mostly abandoned that proposal.
Here's what Vallee's ad looks like:
Vallee's latest foray onto Vermont television screens hits on the same themes as a commercial he commissioned in December, also accusing Sanders of siding with corporate interests against the environment. That ad aired just a handful of times, at a cost of $1500.
The two men have been locked in a bitter back-and-forth since last July, when Sanders began questioning whether Vermont gasoline distributors were overcharging their customers. The two have also tangled over Costco's plan to build a self-serve gas station at its Colchester warehouse, not far from one of Vallee's franchises.
Sanders' campaign manager and outreach director Phil Fiermonte dismissed the ad in a written statement Thursday evening.
“I guess that if you’re a millionaire oil advocate like Skip Vallee, and you’ve made oodles of money ripping off people at the many gas pumps that you own, you can afford to pay for baseless TV ads about Bernie and the environment," Fiermonte said. "The truth is, as most Vermonters know, that Bernie has one of the strongest environmental records in Congress — and has been endorsed by virtually every environmental organization. Like most Vermonters, he believes that wind must be part of a sustainable-energy mix as we combat the planetary crisis of global warming."
Vallee issued his own statement explaining his decision to go back on air.
"Bernie Sanders has said that he supports ridgeline wind because to not do so would diminish his reputation in Washington," Vallee said. "Our elected officials should represent the citizens of the state, and not a self-absorbed focus on their own national brand. This is about Vermont’s ridgelines, not Bernie’s headlines."