The good people of Shelburne are in a tizzy because their blessed gemeinschaft might be tainted by the slightest hint of industrialization. The Burlington Free Press, which pays no mind to antiwar protests but is always anxious to report the plight of affluent subscribers:
Protesters against a project that would place a salt transfer and storage facility near the LaPlatte River in Shelburne donned rain gear and gathered at the Shelburne Community School on Sunday afternoon to make their voices heard.
You know, I have a lot of trouble ginning up outrage on behalf of comfortable, affluent white folks, which is basically the population of Shelburne. (Lookin’ at you, Bruce Lisman!) Especially when I read the overwrought rhetoric of Selectboard chair Gary von Stange:
“This is our town,” von Stange said. “This is our state. These are our lives and our children. This is our community. Champlain is our lake. The LaPlatte is our river. We not only have the right, we have the obligation to fight for our children and our children’s children. There is no compromising when it comes to safety.”
Oh, for God’s sake. Our lives? Our children? Our lake? Our river? All under threat because of a facility that will be invisible and almost inaudible? When its operator promises to abide by strict environmental standards?
This is the kind of apocalyptic verbiage that gives environmentalism a bad name. Do we really have to fight every development as if it will somehow transform Vermont into a Mad Max hellscape?
But that’s not the real problem here. The real problem is that railways enjoy the most all-encompassing, ironclad property rights of just about any entity you can think of.