A little more First Amendment confusion

Here’s a shocker for you. Iberdrola Renewables wants to hold a pair of meetings to present information on a proposed wind farm in Grafton and Windham.

Sorry, did you blink? That’s it. That’s the shocker.

According to VTDigger, Iberdrola has scheduled “technical workshops” in early April. And local opponents want to crash the party: they’re demanding panel discussions including “both sides of the debate.”

“We are shocked that they are proposing yet another meeting where free exchange of information and ideas will be not just discouraged but crudely squelched,” wrote Nancy Tips on behalf of Friends of Windham.


Do I have to say it? Any person, group, or entity that schedules an event has the right to set the agenda and name the participants. I may play a mean polka, but the Vermont Symphony doesn’t have to put me on its program. When Donald Trump had a rally in Burlington, he didn’t have to share the stage with Bernie Sanders.

This has nothing to do with the merits of wind energy, not that that will stop The Usual Suspects from posting Their Usual Comments in this space. This has entirely to do with Iberdrola’s right to host a meeting on its own terms. If wind opponents want to have meetings, they can go right ahead.

Oh wait, they do:

… the opposition groups have raised concerns about health, environmental, aesthetic and property value impacts, organizing a series of public meetings held periodically in Grafton.

And I’ll bet they don’t invite Iberdrola to present at their meetings.

Which is their right! The First Amendment protects your right to free speech; it doesn’t guarantee you access to any particular location at any particular date and time.

This is just plain ridiculous. Frankly, I don’t understand why it’s even a story. Why did VTDigger cover this as a real, substantive controversy? It is, well and truly, a nothing-burger.

Well, that’s not entirely true. It is an indication of just how overwrought wind opponents can be at times.

10 thoughts on “A little more First Amendment confusion

  1. Melissa Belcher

    This article is incredible! Personally, I’m thankful for Iberdrola’s willingness to present to the local communities so often and for their delivery of factual, scientific information and updates on the Stiles Brook project. Thank you for a perspective on reality.

  2. Annette Smith

    You lose your bet. July, 2012 Iberdrola and Meadowsend Timber were given the stage along with others in Windham. Iberdrola is wearing out its welcome nearly 4 years later, as they have held a number of dog & pony shows (I think I read they are up to 8) where, yes, shockingly, they have squelched discussion and keep putting off providing information. Such a fun corporation to have torturing your community for too many years. First they said no vote until they present a final proposal. Now they say vote, then we will give you the final proposal. First they said six months of wind measurement was sufficient (that’s in the above video). Then they go to the PSB after their three year met tower permits expired and get more time. At their last meeting in Oct. 2015 in Windham someone asked a good scientific question which the presenters dodged and didn’t answer — had to do with how low the noise goes on the Hz scale. Since they’re being sued over noise in NY by 60 neighbors and a neighboring town, you’d think they could answer that basic question. Iberdrola is doing a good job of destroying trust, not building it. Talk about ridiculous.

    1. newzjunqie

      Skin too thin-personally detected no “grumpiness”. And wrong…again. By using full name rather than handle proof she’s hiding nothing–google is our friend–it’s the silly detective work that’s a “wee bit funny”. I suggest ya don’t give up the day job-yet.

      Queen Bumble-bee Annette Smith, you and swarm of other drones in her hive never miss a chance to get out the poms and cheerlead the tiniest point, mere comment elicits more yawn-worthy video-spam this one 4 years old *proving nothing* by itself.

      Smallminded comes to mind. No wonder the several lawyers who complained re Ms. Smith trying her hand at law-probably felt sorry for the “clients”.

      Wording of complimentary comment would also suggest dog in the race-not a hidden agenda-nothing wrong w/that at all. Even the renewable planners get to hear some good news once in a while. Perhaps amazed that there are a few reasonable ppl in VT that haven’t bought the lies and disinformational campaign sponsored by Koch & Co via their surrogates and not everyone here is a hick.

      1. katrinkavt

        Ha ha…you didn’t think that was a wee bit funny? Now Melissa looks silly, the way she exercised her First Amendment rights. (You sure sound like a grumpy guy).

      2. Melissa Belcher

        Actually, I have moved on from my position with Meadowsend Timberlands. However, as a supportive native Vermonter, I still have the utmost respect for both MTL and Iberdrola Renewables and, as I mentioned before, am grateful for the science and facts that they have presented to the communities surrounding the Stiles Brook project.

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