The anti- wind and -solar crowd had a big to-do at the Statehouse yesterday, wearing construction-type green vests and lugging all kinds of props as they pressed their case for the current iteration of anti-renewables legislation: a ban on ridgeline wind and “local control” over siting decisions.
This post is not about their arguments. This post is about the absence of response from those who supposedly favor renewable energy.
With the exception of VPIRG, our environmental groups have been curiously silent. On paper, they support renewables as part of a broad-based effort to combat climate change. But in practice, they stay off the battleground.
Disclaimer: I don’t have pipelines into their war rooms, and I don’t know the details of their lobbying efforts. I’m judging based on what I can see. And what I see is an extremely active anti-renewable movement and a distressingly quiescent response.
I’m talking VNRC, the Conservation Law Foundation, and the Sierra Club among others. They all pay lip service to renewables, but what do they actually do? Where is the pro-renewables gathering at the Statehouse?
Well, now we know why the Senate Rules Committee likes to meet behind closed doors. Because yesterday, with reporters in the room, things got so badly out of control that they had to abruptly pack up and leave. Fortunately, VTDigger’s Mark Johnson was on hand to chronicle the chaos. His report is a classic case of “this would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.”
Senate Rules, a committee designed to defend the status quo, has been forced by events to take up the issue of ethics regulation — the very idea of which seems to offend at least three of the panel’s five members.
The saddest thing? The shambolic performance didn’t even concern a really tough issue. To anyone hoping for genuine ethics reform — like, for example, a state Ethics Commission — yesterday’s meeting was a knife in the back. The five Senators couldn’t even handle the much less impactful idea of an in-house Ethics Panel using the House’s toothless joke of a watchdog as a model.
Instead, they got stuck in the weeds of disclosure requirements.