A. Smith | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

A. Smith 
Member since Dec 9, 2015


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Re: “Walters: Legislative Panel Delays Wind Rules — Again

I counted "only" 10 wind proponents present.

21 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by A. Smith on 10/12/2017 at 8:16 PM

Re: “Water Wariness: Concerns Rise Over Scott's Commitment to Cleanup

Videos of Climate Action Commission Public Hearings:
St. Johnsbury https://youtu.be/w9ebGOt37JE
Manchester https://youtu.be/X7hTkcpmYl4
St. Albans https://youtu.be/2VlvEJKbtVc

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by A. Smith on 10/05/2017 at 4:41 PM

Re: “Water Wariness: Concerns Rise Over Scott's Commitment to Cleanup

The three public hearings held by the Climate Action Commission were all preceded by activation alerts from VPIRG, the Sierra Club, and VPIRG"s program called Vermont Energy Independence, offering to bus people in, providing talking points, and holding indoctrination forums in the local area prior to the public hearing.

One person who showed up to speak at the St. Albans public hearing was greeted at the door by someone asking if they were there for the energy hearing, and were invited in to what turned out to be the carbon tax activist's educational forum, not the Climate Action Commission's public hearing.

There is no question the activists are overwhelming the pubic hearings with the sole ask of "carbon tax", just as they did in past years at public hearings on the Comprehensive Energy Plan. I haven't noticed anything specific about political parties' involvements.

The sad thing is that there are a lot of intelligent people coming to speak to the Climate Action Commission, which is charged with coming up with three ideas (not just one), and by scripting people to promote the carbon tax, they are doing the state a disservice by failing to encourage people to think for themselves and come up with other ideas.

16 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by A. Smith on 10/04/2017 at 10:56 AM

Re: “Walters: Environmentalists Object to Scott Climate Panel Choice

Mr. Walters omitted the other aspect of the role that I told him when he called me. The co-chairs have been asked to attend the meetings, and at the request of the Commission, find experts, but only if they ask, and all interactions with those experts will be with the CAC co-chairs, not the TAG co-chairs.

It is sad that people who don't know me and have never worked with me such as Mr. Erickson and Mr. Walsh are interested in going on the attack rather than respecting my 18 years of experience in Vermont working on highly technical issues. Ms. Miller gets a vote, the TAG co-chairs do not, so I do not understand what her beef is.

If we are going to make progress in Vermont, we must find ways to work together. I look forward to doing so, even with people who bring their negative preconceptions.

64 likes, 54 dislikes
Posted by A. Smith on 08/10/2017 at 7:12 PM

Re: “Papers, Please: The Feds Reach Deeper Into Vermont

Past practice by Chair Volz of the PSB issued CPGs without a Final System Impact Study or even a Power Purchase Agreement. The most recent case of this sort was Ranger Solar's "Coolidge" (Ludlow) 20 MW solar project which is planning to sell all the power and RECs to Ct. Those of us watching hoq the PSB was run under Volz were astonished by the failure to follow the law, always to the benefit of developers. It is telling that this pro-wind author chose to tell only one side of the story. The Swanton wind project has more than 60 intervenors, all of whom must spend money -- including three towns, and the regional planning commission -- on lawyers and experts to participate in the process. If the developer wants to build a project that connects to the grid, it is reasonable to require the developer to spend money to assess the grid issues now. People paying attention to wind development in Vermont will recall that Eolian's big wind project in the NEK was dropped by the developer, not because Newark, Brighton, and the Unified Towns and Gores all voted or were polled or surveyed and resoundingly were against it; no, the project died when the System Impact Study showed it would cost an excessive amount of money. Thank you Chair Roisman for restoring the rule of law to energy regulation.

11 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by A. Smith on 08/09/2017 at 7:34 PM

Re: “Conflict Brews Between Charlotte Hops Farm and Its Neighbors

Pesticide drift has been a problem for neighbors in Vermont, as well as the Ag Agency's support of the use of toxic chemicals. VCE did a report in 2002 detailing three different experiences http://vce.org/deancrisisagvt.html.

The issue of using a site for processing has also been a nightmare for neighbors, as detailed in this testimony from 2004 http://vce.org/righttofarmtestimony.html. In that case, an apple orchard expanded into an apple processing/bagging facility and took on other customers. After credible complaints from neighbors, the Ag Dept. sided with the farmers.

Vermont's sacred cow of agriculture has imbedded so many waives from environmental rules that it is very difficult for neighbors to address potential problems before they happen and virtually impossible after the project is operating. In one case, VCE assisted the South Woodstock community in dealing with a proposed lamb feedlot and slaughterhouse. After learning there was zero public comment or participation component, the neighbors pooled resources and purchased the property and it is now the award winning Vermont Farmstead Cheese operation.

Why is it so hard to be good neighbors? To Mr. Briggs, I would say if you haven't figured out your water needs and the impacts on the neighbors, I suggest stopping and working with a credible hydrogeologist to evaluate the needs and issues so that there is a way to address problems if people's wells go dry or if the neighboring farmers are negatively impacted.

45 likes, 36 dislikes
Posted by A. Smith on 08/02/2017 at 11:19 AM

Re: “Walters: Scott Unveils Yet Another Climate Panel

Is someone carrying VPIRG's water? Again?

14 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by A. Smith on 07/21/2017 at 6:40 PM

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