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The explosion of solar arrays in Vermont, in particular Addison County, has spawned the twinkling of what could be the downside of any boom-bust cycle.
The upside of solar power is its sustainability and near-zero admissions into the atmosphere. In that manner, it is a fuel source to be developed and exploited.
The downside of its rapid deployment, however, is in the rush to cite the projects (sometimes in places that are less than ideal) as well as lax rules that govern the life cycle of any energy project.
As every politician reminded us in November, the hot topics as lawmakers return to Montpelier next month will be school funding and health care.
With that in mind, it’s time for some facts and figures, presented as context and without comment.
• Vermont in 2011 stood at ninth among U.S. states in the level of state and local taxes as a percentage of residents’ income, at 10.5 percent.
The Dec. 4 editorial outlines the burden of tax for Vermont payers. Understanding of the reason for high tax rates per pupil is different. However, I do understand relative comparisons of expense.
If the school department would publish a comparison chart of cost per pupil in the other New England states, we would have a better understanding that you are doing a good job.
A front-page article, Dec. 4, Addison Independent, states that, “solar firms have eyed Addison County as a prime location for solar projects, owing to the area’s abundant, flat farmland.” Well of course they have, no trees to cut down or brush to remove, just drive in and start planting solar.
This thoughtless waste of prime agriculture soils is an egregious act against the environment and our future food production. And a degradation to the beautiful state of Vermont.
House Speaker Shap Smith recently said that the Legislature’s highest priority in the 2015 session should be changing Vermont’s system of financing and governing K-12 education. Smith noted that the large number of school budgets rejected last spring, and the concern about high and rising property taxes demonstrated by the November election results, mean that the Legislature must address the education issue soon.
Although the argument against the pipeline centers on environmental concerns, the real reason may have to do with the disdain for fossil fuels felt by environmental groups and others. The Vermont Gas pipeline is a relatively small issue compared to the entirety of the existing U.S. natural gas pipeline system. Hence, opponents of this project have taken a well-anticipated route, claiming that it will harm the environment.
I was born into a world with oil lamps, well water pumped by hand and horses for travel. Then the automobile and telephone in every home led to a cell phone in every hand. And now we have electricity from the sun. Watch out world. I can’t believe it.
It is time for a statewide moratorium on multi-user solar generating installations in Vermont.
Outrageous, totalitarian, heavy-handed, biased, heartless, corrupt. These are but a few of the adjectives that might be used to describe the behavior of the Public Service Board in response to challenges by towns in Vermont to over 35 multi-user solar renewable energy projects proposed by developers over the last 8 months.