Tuesday November 27, 2012

On Vermont Yankee and state tourism

Editor of the Reformer:

For years I worked on the front lines of the Vermont tourism industry, and it is from this vantage point that my support for Vermont Yankee has developed. On Nov. 7, I traveled to Vernon -- a six hour drive round-trip -- to tell the Vermont Public Service Board why I support the power plant.

For many years, I worked directly with the guests at one of America’s leading family destination resorts. They told me they come to Vermont because it is beautiful and unspoiled, because the air is clean and the views are gorgeous. If they wanted dirty air or visual clutter, they would have gone somewhere else, or just stayed home. Most guests come from nearby out of state -- from the other New England states, New York, or the two closest Quebec provinces. Many of them drive part or all of the way. In short, they come not only for the fun of the resort itself, but for the beauty of surrounding Vermont, especially the mountains, for the clean air, and because its nearness makes it affordable, compared to the resort competition out west.

Beauty, clean air, and affordability -- Vermont Yankee is a benefit to all three. Beauty, because having an operational nuclear power plant means we are in less of a rush to clear cut our mountain ridgelines and valleys to make way for wind farms and for crisscrossing new power lines for the hodgepodge of smallscale power generation that some would have replace it.


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Clean air, because Yankee emits no air pollutants, unlike the coal and gas plants that will be ramped up if it closes. Some environmental groups that should know better have suggested a patchwork quilt of woodburning power plants, carbon emissions and all, to replace Yankee. From an air quality point of view, this makes no sense. To me, one of Vermont Yankee’s greatest environmental benefits as a power producer is that it already exists. No more trees need to be cut down, nor rocks blasted, nor tourist-drawing scenic views destroyed. There is no need for lines of slow, loud, exhaust-emitting trucks running to and from construction sites and woodchip plants.

Finally, Vermont Yankee power is very affordable, especially when compared to the renewable power that Montpelier seems determined to make us pay for. Unfortunately the paying public isn’t just my family. Resorts use a lot of electricity, and it is a simple rule of business that the customer always pays in the end.

Heather Sheppard,

North Cambridge, Nov. 14

Hurricane Sandy:
The plot thickens

Editor of the Reformer:

I’m glad that a recent letter to the editor revealed that Hurricane Sandy was not a natural disaster at all but I’m afraid that the writer misidentified the culprits who arranged it when he blamed the Rothschilds and the DuPonts, among others, for manipulating the weather for their own gain. As it turns out, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy were actually behind this deed and while the evidence is not conclusive, it looks like the Easter Bunny was in on it, too.

What could motivate these do-gooders to wreak havoc on the people of the mid-Atlantic coast? Perhaps it was their disdain for a power hungry government run amok. Well Claus, for one had good reason to want to create chaos that would divert attention from his upcoming announcement that this would be his last year on the job. You see he’s old, very old, and he’s wanted to retire for years but the letters just keep on coming and he felt that he couldn’t let his countless young pen pals down. But with the prevalence of "Seasons Greetings" and "Happy Holidays" cards he saw the handwriting on the wall.

The Tooth Fairy, it seems, was sucked into the plot as a reaction to demands that he produce his transcripts from dental school and accusations that he was behind the program to poison our youth with fluoride.

Like Santa, the Easter Bunny only works one day a year. He spends the rest of his time in a palatial warren that he built himself where he lives comfortably off the proceeds from his endorsements, thanks to the egg and chocolate cartels.

One thing is certain -- the real perpetrators of this plot never expected to be exposed. They knew that the super-rich with their ability to control the weather would escape the spotlight. The first line of deflection for both of these groups is the carefully constructed hoax known as global warming which has gained enormous credibility among the gullible in every country but the U.S., and it is even starting to have some traction here. One can only wonder why anybody would want to propagate such a preposterous notion when it is bound to attract attacks from those who its inventors refer to as pseudo-scientists among the talking heads and bloggers underwritten by the well-meaning producers of the fossil fuels we all rely on for energy.

That question was answered a couple of years ago in an NPR report about a woman who gave a speech to a Washington, D.C., think-tank attributing the "global warming hoax" to conspirators seeking to promote abortion. She clearly explained in a fair and balanced account that their push to reduce the production and use of carbon based fuels was manufactured for the purpose of driving up their costs so people would buy smaller cars and, in turn, be forced to have smaller families, thereby creating a greater demand for abortions.

But don’t take my word for any of the above, do the research yourselves.

Larry Simons,

Halifax, Nov. 15

Kudos to Thubers

Editor of the Reformer:

It was wonderful to read the article about the Thurbers’ 75 years at Lilac Ridge Farm (Sept. 21), and to see one of Brattleboro’s most generous, community-minded families getting the recognition they truly deserve. Every day we see how much Ross and Amanda Thurber do for our school and our area as a whole -- from student field trips at their farm to participation in our healthy snack program -- they are always eager to help out.

Thank you for highlighting the importance of farming families, and helping the Thurbers and Brattleboro residents celebrate such an important milestone in their farm’s history.

Sarah Armour-Jones,

director of Development
and Communications,

Hilltop Montessori School, Oct. 16