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

A. Smith 
Member since Dec 9, 2015



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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

Re: “Fighting the Feds: Vermont Officials Resist Trump Election Commission

Those events at the governor's meetings were broadcast on C-SPAN or some TV channel I happened on. When they panned the audience, almost all the seats were empty. How many other governors also skipped the opening events? Maybe you need a bigger pile of rocks to throw at those other governors, too.

12 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by A. Smith on 07/19/2017 at 12:47 PM

Re: “Walters: Panel Ices Wind Rules Until October

Walters writes a political column called Fair Game, once a week. This article strays from his prior good reporting on this issue where he acted as a reporter, while in this one he's returned to his blogger biased days that his editors promised me he would be restrained from doing. Repeating that there are no studies showing health effects does not make it true. What the wind industry relies on are cherry picked literature reviews paid for by industry and governments with an agenda to promote wind energy. Many good studies about the human response to wind turbines are available and in the record at the PSB in numerous dockets. It is universal that people living in close proximity or downwind depending on topography and terrain are experiencing "annoyance" (a medical term), sleep deprivation, headaches, ringing in the ears, nausea, vertigo, and other symptoms such as cardiac issues that arise from the continuous exposure to a full spectrum of noise generated by these open air noise sources. There is no mystery about what is happening, scientifically. The mystery is why it is so hard for people to have compassion and understanding for the people who are affected.

10 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by A. Smith on 06/24/2017 at 10:58 AM

Re: “Walters: Panel Ices Wind Rules Until October

If you want to know what happened at the LCAR hearing, this is good reporting:


6 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by A. Smith on 06/23/2017 at 5:13 PM

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