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To the editor: With the recent regime change in Washington, D.C., the Democrats are in charge of the executive branch, the House and the Senate. Quite rapidly, we are witnessing corporate America and Big Green Energy flooding social media and legacy news with advertisements pushing the virtues of transitioning to battery operated transportation.

The external costs of this Green New Deal are being largely ignored. The claims of cleaning up the environment and creating a more socially responsible society completely overshadow the downsides of this transition. There are unmeasured costs that exceed even the billions of taxpayer dollars being expropriated from every American citizen to fund this change.

While the environmental devastation created by mining operations is a huge concern, even more egregious is the use of children, as young as six years old, being "employed" as miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The rate of pay for these children is anywhere between 75 cents and $2 per day. This is child slave labor. International Rights Advocates have filed a lawsuit against Apple, Google, Dell, Microsoft and Tesla on behalf of 14 Congolese parents. Other defendants in the lawsuit include the Chinese firm Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt. (https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/dec/16/apple-and-google-named-in-us-lawsuit-over-congolese-child-cobalt-mining-deaths)

Amnesty International has also been diligent in exposing and advocating for the children and parents of the Congo.

(https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/01/child-labour-behind-smart-phone-and-electric-car-batteries/)

Vermonters are known for being both environmentally and socially aware. Sadly this awareness only goes so far as what is reported in the mainstream media. I encourage everyone who reads this to dig a little deeper and learn the impacts of your own purchasing decisions and how your tax dollars are being spent.

As dirty as fossil fuels may be, I am certain that the automobile I drive is made by highly paid union workers and fueled by oil industry workers who are protected by hard earned labor and safety regulations.

Stuart Lindberg

Cavendish, March 6

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