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Opinion: Green energy is creating blight

Vermont is quickly losing its quaint, iconic, quintessential charm. We are a state that is known worldwide for its green mountains, its covered bridges, its cute rural towns and its aesthetically pleasing character. It is why I moved here and why tourists flock here year round.
Now there are massive arrays of solar panels alongside major roads, and wind turbines lined up on our disfigured and flattened mountaintops. There may soon be a five-story, 100-by-300-foot metal structure in New Haven for Vermont Green Line, and an enormous development on ag land in Randolph adjacent to that picturesque long stretch of I-89.
The number of trees in Middlebury is dwindling. The photogenic little bridge at the entrance of Old Town Road is now a crude mix of metal and wood no longer conducive to summer flowers and winter wreaths. Little by little, in our enthusiastic attempt to “save the environment” or to make progress, ironically we are destroying the natural beauty and ecology in this amazing, unique, forested, mountainous state.
Though I feel proud to live in a forward-thinking state, I am embarrassed by the disrespect we show to its mountains, its flora and its fauna. In our quest to be the number one most progressive state, we seem to have lost sight of what makes us so special. Decisions are being driven more by money (bribes) and politics (our governor) than by the reasons that makes us a vacation destination. Renewable energy trumps aesthetics even though tourism is our number one industry. The solar jobs and the monetary incentives will eventually peter out.
I am reminded of Dr. Seuss’ book “The Lorax.” The Once-ler man become super enthusiastic about knitting Thneeds from the fabric of the colorful Truffula Trees in that cute little town. His factory greedily grew and grew, “biggering and biggering and BIGGERING,” until there were no more Truffula Trees, and no more animals, fish or birds. The once beautiful village was now a pathetic nothingness. The Lorax tried and tried to warn the Once-ler man of the inevitable.
I am not against renewable energy or progress, but let’s please be reasonable about it. I am a proponent of balance, moderation and common sense. I wish that we could take a big step back, catch our breath, and be more mindful of just what it is we are doing to the charm of this naturally gorgeous Green Mountain State.
Duane Peterson of SunCommon (in the Nov. 2 Addison Independent) cites tall silos and long, multi-level barns as ways that we have been manipulating our landscape, and likens them to “planting solar as our new cash crop.” I love to photograph barns and silos, but would never consider photographing a solar array. I cannot ever remember a Trent Campbell photo of a solar array.
Can we not find a balance between forward thinking and preservation of this exquisite state in which we live? We are on a runaway train that needs to slow its speed. The unsightly, destructive changes that are happening all over the state are irreversible and will eventually destroy our unique character. I believe that we will eventually regret this trendy wave of strong enthusiasm for renewable energy that is progressing at all costs to our world-renowned beautiful environment.
Lynn Coeby, Ripton

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