Wind Turbines and common sense
Rulesof civilized neighborhood are not a question of borders but of common sense. In fact, it is precisely the principle by which the AQPER (Association québécoise de la production d’énergie renouvelable), a group heavily in support of renewed energy in Quebec, has voiced its opposition to the project targeting the installation of industrial wind turbines at the Quebec border with Vermont.
The AQPER, usually an avid promoter of wind turbines, has stated in an open letter addressed to the media last week that this American led initiative intending to install windmills at the border of Vermont and Quebec is a mistake. In order to generate and sustain new forms of energy, there must be public buy-in, projects like the DerbyStandstead venture is a perfect example of damaging the communities’ sentiment vis-à-vis this otherwise ingenious wind process. Jean-françois Samray, president of the organization has also expressed his opposition to the project in alignment with the professional advice of an expert in wind mills who used to work as a major consultant for Hydro Quebec.
Why is it such a bad project? One needs to say it over and again to clearly be heard. These turbines are much too close for comfort. To be more precise, the project actually is a word breaking record of proximity to households, genuine homes. To name but a few of their known risks, during the winter season, these enormous structures have the potential of projecting ice breakages onto to the surrounding community therefore endangering the safety and security of residents within the community. Another known risk is the potential health hazards caused by the sound emanating from the windmills. Not to say anything about the important lost in values for homes.
One may ask whether there is any truth in these issues and risks or whether they are merely theoretical possibilities. The true believers in wind turbines may answer the latter, and that the chances of the risks manifesting themselves are minute. However, should we follow their beliefs like the blind lead by the blind and blatantly disregard any of the unfavorable effects? If a risk is present why take any chances at all? Since Vermont is a very large state, the project could very well seek other areas where no such public health hazards or public safety would be in cause. In its last issue,
pointed out that wind turbines may grow someday on the Quebec side of the border which is a true fact. Let it be known that there are already many wind turbines in Quebec, such as in Vermont and many other places around the world. Once again, one must be careful not to translate that the high presence of wind turbines across the world means that these structures have found their rightful place in society and award them carte blanche to be set anytime, anywhere anyhow around the world, as is the debate in Derby.
I spoke last week for quite a long time with Chad Farell and Nick Richardson of Encore Redevelopment. «In all honesty, would you personally live so close to the wind turbines», I asked them? I was pleased to hear a clear «No».
I was also comforted to hear how they admitted having made mistakes on evaluating the consequences of their project for the life of Canadians. They went as far as stating that they are already considering reducing the number of turbines to one as opposed to the two they had originally planned for. Nevertheless, to be pleased and comforted is not sufficient. Joined by my fellow Stanstead citizens and neighbors, we will only be happy once they clearly understand the negative impacts their project will have on our community and once they rethink the location. To target the border is an error.
Encore Redevelopment is a company still at its beginnings with a tremendous potential to grow into a solid venture. At the start of any business, sometimes the wrong calls can be made with devastating long term effects. Other times, a wrong call can quickly be turned around and no damage was done. As a «green» company aiming growth and success, I urge them to recognize a “bad call” when they see it and hope they come to their senses, sooner rather than later.
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT.) today welcomed Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe’s decision to abandon plans to close 3,600 rural post offices, including 15 in Vermont, but voiced reservations about a new plan to cut hours of operation.
Sanders called on the House to pass a Postal Service reform bill that a bipartisan majority of senators approved on April 25.
He said he is increasingly confident that many postal sorting facilities once slated for shutdowns will be spared, including one at White River Junction, Vt.
But he questioned aspects of Donahoe’s new plan, announced earlier today, to cut hours of operation at 13,000 post offices, including 145 in Vermont.
“The good news is that all 15 rural post offices slated to be shut down in Vermont will remain open. The bad news is that dozens of post offices in Vermont and around the country will see their hours cut. I will continue to fight to keep as many of these post offices open for as long as possible,” Sanders said.
“While I have no doubt that some rural post offices could see hours cut, I am concerned about the impact of reduced hours on many communities. The truth is that reducing hours in rural post offices will not save significant amounts compared to the Postal Service’s overall budget,” Sanders added.
The plan to cut post office hours comes at a time when Congress is working on legislation that would maintain mail delivery standards, keep postal facilities open and create a new business model for the Postal Service – all without costing taxpayers a dime.
The Senate-passed bill addresses the major reason for the Postal Service’s financial troubles – a $5.5 billion annual mandate to pre-fund 75 years of future retiree health benefits in just 10 years. This onerous requirement, unparalleled by any entity in the private sector or government, is responsible for more than 80 percent of the Postal Service’s debt. Without that obligation, the Postal Service would have posted a profit of $700 million from 2007-2010, and a $200 million profit in the first quarter of this fiscal year. The Senatepassed bill also addresses the reality that the Postal Service overpaid $11 billion into the Federal Employees Retirement System.
The measure now awaiting action by the House also includes a Sanders provision to let the Postal Service become more entrepreneurial. He wants the Postal Service to explore new opportunities to increase business, such as expanding digital services, selling hunting and fishing licenses, making copies, notarizing documents, and cashing checks.
“The Postal Service does need a new business model in order to be successful in the 21st century. Rather than cutting services, Congress should lift restrictions so the Postal Service can become more entrepreneurial and earn new revenue,” Sanders said.