Shumlin should curb arrogance
Gov. Shumlin’s recent scornful and intemperate remarks regarding folks concerned about mountaintop destruction (“Candidates take opposite tacks on energy,” Vermont Press Bureau, Oct. 24) detract from a rational debate about what is emerging as perhaps Vermont’s greatest environmental battle of the decade.
The governor has many laudable ideas. For example, the deliberative process he has established for health reform is commendable. What is not admirable, however, is his palpable arrogance toward people who challenge him. Two weeks ago, he insulted journalists probing his recent land deal in East Montpelier. This week, when confronting criticisms about industrial wind’s assault of Vermont’s mountains, he lashed out at critics, calling them “the committee against virtually everything.”
Vermont needs an urgent and informed debate for dealing with climate change. Yet it is hard to have such a discussion when Vermonters who adopt views contrary to the governor’s are dismissed with an imperial wave of the hand.
Back in the mid-1960s, several prominent Vermonters sounded alarms about development above the environmentally fragile 2,500-foot level of our mountains. They included Hub Vogelmann of UVM, Bob “Mr. Audubon” Spear, and Shirley Strong, first female president of the Green Mountain Club. Their work helped lead to the 2,500-foot standard in Act 250. Their findings and concerns remain relevant and deserve consideration. I shudder to think what Peter Shumlin would have said about them.
BRUCE S. POST