Dubie and Sanders urge support for wind energy

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(Host) Support for wind energy has prompted two political opposites to join forces. On Friday, Republican Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie and Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders both urged Vermonters to do more to develop wind power.

VPR’s John Dillon reports.

(Dillon) Lieutenant Governor Dubie has a clear recollection of the last time he and Bernie Sanders appeared at the same podium.

(Dubie) “Well, Bernie I don’t know if you remember this but the last time you and I were on the same stage was 1976.”
(Sanders) “I don’t remember.”
(Dubie) “And I was running for governor of Boy’s State and you were running for governor….”

(Dillon) Maybe it took 30 years, but the two have found common ground in their support for wind energy. Sanders says wind power is needed to reduce dependence on foreign oil, nuclear power and fossil fuels.

(Sanders) “At a time when our foreign policy is to a significant degree determined by our need for oil from the Middle East and elsewhere, the time is long overdue for America and the state of Vermont to do everything we can to break away from our old oil energy sources and move to clean, safe, affordable energy and wind power in the state of Vermont.”

(Dillon) According to Dubie, wind energy development is a national security issue as well. He says wind energy will help make the nation’s power grid more secure, because power supplies will be widely scattered around the country.

(Dubie) “So this is a homeland security issue also. It’s a decentralized way to deliver power. It’s more secure.”

(Dillon) Sanders and Dubie were joined by a multitude of advocates and state lawmakers. The news conference was designed to counter opposition to the half-dozen wind projects now planned for the state’s ridgelines.

But Wendy Goldsworthy, a resident of Kirby in the Northeast Kingdom, says it’s a mistake to rush into wind energy development. She says the wind is too intermittent for wind turbines to take the place of large-scale power plants.

(Goldsworthy) “We cannot replace these other forms of energy, we can supplement it. So the danger would be in doing these massive developments, these commercial wind developments, these industrial developments, at the cost of the land, at the cost of the public trust in our political system.”

(Dillon) Goldsworthy has concerns about a large wind energy project proposed for state land in Kirby. Next week, state officials will launch hearings on a new state policy for wind energy development and public lands.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon in Montpelier.

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