Rutland Herald Opinion: Biomass project skirts democracy

Mar 08, 2013 No Comments by

Reposted here from the Rutland Herald.

“Making a charade of democracy” is the headline in the Feb.17 Rutland Herald in the commentary by Jon Mach, chairman of the Newfane Select Board. While this is in reference to the telecommunications corporations, it is also true of other energy corporations such as the biomass plants like the one proposed for North Springfield.

Mr. Mach goes on to say, “The process as it has unfolded provides a disturbing example of how corporate interests exercise undue control over public resources and the democratic processes.

“Whatever the intent of the state of Vermont — its practical effect is to dramatically overload the equation in favor of industry to the extent that any local democratic processes are entirely ceremonial.”

In their rush to get their hands on federal funds, these corporations are cutting corners and limiting public information aided by federal, state and local government with total disregard to the effect on the people most directly affected. Concealed beneath the flying banners of green, clean and sustainable, plus the promise of possible jobs and in the name of the public good ride the robber barons or carpetbaggers of past generations into the 21st century.

Mack continues, “The state of Vermont has essentially followed the pattern of the federal government, allowing corporations’ interest to dominate the conversation while giving lip service to the concerns of the most directly affected.”

The recently planned meeting involving the Springfield Select Board and the select boards of the neighboring towns with Winstanley people — public not to be invited — fortunately discovered and called off. How many other undiscovered without public knowledge or input meetings have taken place? How will the resources of Springfield be affected? Our air, water, our health, the traffic and roads, aesthetics? These questions are not being answered. All we really know is this plant will generate electricity. How, without destroying our environment, is lightly brushed over. Money today is more important than the future of our children.

The limited and tightly controlled “public input” has been little more than “a charade” and certainly not a legitimate exercise in democracy.

JEAN M. WILLARD

North Springfield

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