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Opinion: Vermont PSB snubs local concerns on solar projects

It is time for a statewide moratorium on multi-user solar generating installations in Vermont.
Outrageous, totalitarian, heavy-handed, biased, heartless, corrupt. These are but a few of the adjectives that might be used to describe the behavior of the Public Service Board in response to challenges by towns in Vermont to over 35 multi-user solar renewable energy projects proposed by developers over the last 8 months.
Despite the best efforts of localities to craft sensible town plans that provide a modicum of direction to preserve town character, scenery and views, and regardless of the protestations of people living near or next to proposed these solar installations, the PSB has seen fit to reject 100 percent of these cases brought before it. Not one objection survived the hard rubber stamp of the PSB.
Such is the condition of democracy in Vermont. The state’s renewable energy policy is slicing and dicing our countryside with no intelligent oversight provided by the Legislature in Montpelier having previously passed ideologically driven legislation without regard to implementation which, in the words of Sen. Bob Hartwell of Bennington County, “have contributed to the current energy siting mess rapidly making Vermont a beacon to the world as to how not to make energy policy.”
It is time for a statewide moratorium on multi-user solar generating installations until the Legislature has brought the PSB to heel. It is time for a moratorium until the PSB meets with every town in the state who requests its assistance in crafting a town plan that will pass allow the intelligent development of solar energy and pass PSB muster while preserving the unique interests of the town and its citizens.
Almost every day another multi-user solar project appears on some town’s plate, and almost every day another bit of what used to be Vermont is being sacrificed on the altar of ideological purity. It is time to a deep breath. It is time for a moratorium.
Alex D. Tokewell
Middlebury

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