By Kirk Carapezza
Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Monday his opposition to a proposed moratorium on ridgeline wind power projects in Vermont, saying it would send the wrong message to people across the country who are trying to fight climate change.
Sanders had told those who oppose ridgeline wind development that he would not get involved. But surrounded by environmentalists at his Burlington office this morning, Sanders passionately defended his decision to intervene on a bill proposed in the state Senate.
“I know that the day after a moratorium is passed here in the state of Vermont, if that were to take place, that the fossil fuel industry, the coal industry, the oil industry would be advertising all over America that even in the progressive state of Vermont – even in the so-called environmentally-conscious state of Vermont – they don’t want to go fast on sustainable energy,” Sanders said.
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Anti-wind development advocates point out that it’s rare for a sitting U.S. Senator to weigh in on state legislation. Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia, says Sanders normally doesn’t intervene in state legislative issues, and he thinks Sanders might suffer political backlash in Vermont.
“To suddenly see him abandoning the little guy in this conversation, in exchange for something that doesn’t do what he proclaims it does, it really makes me scratch my head,” Benning said.
Benning and Sen. Bob Hartwell, D-Bennington, have filed legislation that would create a three-year moratorium on new wind projects on Vermont’s ridgelines.