America’s Clean Power Plan

Watch the President deliver remarks live

On Monday, August 3, 2015, President Obama is announcing the finalization of America’s Clean Power Plan, the biggest step he’s taken to combat climate change. The plan sets the first-ever carbon pollution standards for power plants, while providing states and utilities with the flexibility they need to meet those standards.

I’d love to get your reaction in the comment section below!

Find out how the Clean Power Plan will impact your state:

Alabama                      Arizona                      Arkansas

California                     Colorado                   Connecticut

Delaware                     Florida                       Georgia

Idaho                           Illinois                         Indiana

Iowa                            Kansas                       Kentucky

Louisiana                    Maine                         Maryland

Massachusetts           Michigan                     Minnesota

Mississippi                  Missouri                      Montana

Nebraska                    Nevada                      New Hampshire

New Jersey                 New Mexico               New York

North Carolina             North Dakota              Ohio

Oklahoma                    Oregon                      Pennsylvania

Rhode Island               South Carolina          South Dakota

Tennessee                  Texas                        Utah

Virginia                        Washington               West Virginia

Wisconsin                    Wyoming

President Obama on America’s Clean Power Plan

Green Mountain Power today issued the following statement in support of New Climate Change Regulations:

“Green Mountain Power, Vermont’s Energy Company of the Future, supports the new climate change regulations.  This aligns with GMP’s mission to deliver low-cost, low-carbon, and highly reliable power, which is critical to our energy future. And it also aligns with our shared Vermont goal to reduce carbon emissions and use more clean energy. In Vermont, the frequency and severity of storms caused by a changing climate have a high cost, and a practical plan for reducing carbon emissions is a key part of lowering costs for customers and increasing reliability.

“GMP is partnering with customers to accelerate the pace of change here in Vermont to  a more distributed energy future that is based on energy being generated closer to the home and where it is used. We are finding new ways to help Vermonters save money and be more comfortable, while moving to cleaner local sources of energy – exemplified by the deployment of substantial renewable generation in the past several years, our Energy Homes of the Future, “eHomes”, and our goal to make Rutland the Energy City of the Future. Generating energy through microgrids empowers customers to make more choices about how and when they use energy.

“While some utilities across the country are fighting innovative clean energy solutions, we are moving full steam ahead with our efforts to find new ways to bring down energy costs and generate more clean power. It is critical that we rethink the current grid and business model to more local distributed generation. We want to transform the distribution grid from a 100-year-old electric delivery model where energy is transmitted inefficiently across long distances to a new system designed to create efficiencies and distributed energy solutions through renewable technologies and energy storage. This is the future, and we are so excited to be a part of how Vermont is leading the way.”

Strafford Community Solar Ribbon Cutting

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Strafford Vermont Selectman Stephen Marx, congratulated by Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, at the Strafford Community Solar Ribbon Cutting along with Kathy Hardy, wife of another Strafford Selectboard person and Dorian Yates.

Strafford Community Solar Project Goes Live

The community solar array below the Strafford Saddlery is producing power, delivering net-metering credits to the electric meters of the Town of Strafford, Newton School, Barrett Hall, the Morrill Library, and the United Church of Strafford. This ceremonial ribbon cutting and celebration today, Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 11:45 am starts with Jeff Wolfe’s introduction of Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin.

Strafford resident, Bob Bauer congratulates the town on its foresight 

Massive coal train heading East from Morrill Nebraska to supply coal-fired power plants.
Massive coal train heading East from Morrill Nebraska to supply coal-fired power plants. Photo credit, Bob Bauer.

 

Ironically, I found myself this past weekend in Morrill, Nebraska. It was named after Charles Henry Morrill, a cousin of Strafford Vermont’s illustrious native son, Justin Smith Morrill.

I understand the concerns of some Strafford citizens who don’t like the sight of the new solar panels, or who are concerned about what the new solar field on the reclaimed Elizabeth Mine site might look like. But the bottom line is that our energy needs to come from somewhere.

For their part, citizens in Morrill, Nebraska, need to put up with much more than just the sight of solar panels: Each day, pretty much every hour, a long train runs through town, blowing its whistle loud and frequently. It’s exclusively comprised of cars filled to the brim with coal mined in nearby Wyoming, heading East to fuel coal-burning power plants. Once burned, that coal’s smoke heads, you guessed it, East, over New England, over us, adding carbon to the atmosphere. Every hour the train heads back west for a new load.

So Bravo, Strafford, Vermont, for making a difference.”

Make-A-Wish Vermont Benefits from Solar Project

Corrections facility solar project commissioned helping support Make-A-Wish donation for local child

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“WATTS-FOR-WISHES” CHARITABLE DONATION ANNOUNCED

St. Albans, VT, July 20, 2015 – A new solar farm is powering the state’s correctional facility in St. Albans and has helped fund the wish for a local Make-A-Wish child.

The new 500kW solar project sited adjacent to the prison is part of a broader solar initiative for state facilities spearheaded by Governor Peter Shumlin, which supplies solar energy for state buildings and provides taxpayer savings from reduced electric bills at the facilities.  Previously completed solar projects include the Northeast State Correctional Facility in St. Johnsbury and Southeast State Corrections Facility in Windsor.

Corrections Commissioner Andy Pallito, Dan Edison from Buildings and General Services, and other state officials joined to celebrate the milestone.

Vermont-based AllEarth Renewables manufactured solar trackers and oversaw design/construction for the project, and SolarSense served as the developer of the project.

Through its “Watts for Wishes” charitable donation program, SolarSense is donating $6,500 to Make-A-Wish Vermont to fund a wish for local wish child.  The donation is being made in the name of the State of Vermont, as the benefactor, in recognition of its leadership in initiating the St. Albans correctional facility project.

The “Watts for Wishes” charitable donation program connects the renewable energy industry with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to provide children with life-threatening illnesses the funding to fulfill their wishes.

Make-A-Wish Vermont's Jamie Hathaway receives gift from Chris Fraga, CEO of SolarSense
Make-A-Wish Vermont’s Jamie Hathaway receives gift from Chris Fraga, CEO of SolarSense

Taylor, of Franklin County, who previously took a Make-A-Wish sponsored Disney cruise with her family, spoke at the event about the value of these wishes. The new donation will fund a future wish child.

“When a child is sick, a family is sick and when a family is sick a community is sick. This gift from SolarSense will not just give one of Vermont’s children and family hope and strength to face a life threatening illness, it will lift an entire community,” said Jamie Hathaway, CEO of Make-A-Wish Vermont.

Make-A-Wish Vermont has granted over 700 wishes to Vermont’s children facing life-threatening illnesses and no eligible child is turned away.  To learn how you can support Make-A-Wish Vermont visit vermont.wish.org

“We are thrilled to serve the State of Vermont and to be part of the State’s realization of the aggressive renewable energy initiative,” said Chris Fraga, founder and CEO of SolarSense, and a 23-year volunteer, donor, and six-year Make-A-Wish Board Member. “On a personal note, we are honored to sponsor the Watts-for-Wishes charitable giving program, and to donate the funding for a local wish in celebration of the Northwest facilities project and State sponsors.”

“We are excited to be partnering with SolarSense to provide locally-produced solar power for the State of Vermont, helping our state move forward as a national leader in renewable energy and save taxpayers money. It’s also gratifying to be involved in a project that contributes to important and meaningful community programs like this support to Vermont’s Make-A-Wish Foundation,” added David Blittersdorf, president and CEO of AllEarth Renewables.


 

Check out coverage of this story by Alex Apple of WCAX

WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Dan Jones: The Except-ional Vermonter

This commentary is by Dan Jones. Dan is an energy activist in Montpelier, and former chair of the Montpelier Energy Advisory Committee.

Dan JonesWe know global warming is happening and something needs to be done quickly to contain the damage. We know that our automobile based economy is probably not sustainable. At some level we even know that our precious Vermont landscape is going to be changed by the needs to respond to our current challenges. Yet, somewhere, deep in most of us is a level of belief that such changes really don’t apply to us individually.   They are something other people in less enlightened states will need to respond to  quickly.

Lately I have been noticing a number of examples of the waysthat people express their concern and anger when needed changes begin to affect them personally. Our lovely state, of late, has produced a surprising number of what I am starting to call “Except-ional Vermonters” .

These are basically good people who understand that we do need to do something about the climate crisis and the economic challenges of the moment.  Except, they argue, they personally should not be forced to bear any of the cost or inconvenience of that work. This attitude goes beyond the well established, NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) complaints. The attitude is actually worse because these well informed folks admit that consequential change is needed.  Yet they believe that they deserved an exception because protecting their personal privilege is somehow part of a greater public good.

For instance, in a recent  Times Argus commentary piece, “Little People Count Too”, Libby Harris decried the way in which the state was riding roughshod over the rights of innocent citizens.  She is upset that her beautiful mountain view is being ruined by a solar farm which was permitted by the Public Service Department (PSD) in complete disregard for community sentiment.

solar-array

According to Harris, this high handed behavior of the PSD in allowing the siting of solar power developments and wind farms to disrupt the romantic views of mountains and lakes, renders the average citizen powerless. She even admits that global warming does require alternative power sources. Except, in her case, (this is where the except-ional comes in) tearing up trees in her view-shed is an example of unwarranted use of state power and our community rights should be protected.

Sheffield Wind Farm

Wind power creates even more controversy. I have many friends who know that global warming is going to require massive changes in our use of energy and land. They will all admit that of course we need alternate power, EXCEPT that placing wind turbines on ridge lines creates an ecological damage greater than the renewable energy good it promises.  They seem to prefer inefficient small windmills lower down where the wind doesn’t blow. These responses lead me to wonder: if we can’t place wind turbines in the only places where the wind predictably blows and we can’t place solar farms where they will disrupt the views, where will our renewable energy come from?

A similar conundrum is found in the issues of land use in our small cities. We know that dense housing development is more efficient for transportation needs, energy use and affordability. If we want to reverse our unsustainable rural sprawl lifestyle we need to reconsider how dense we make our small Vermont cities.   However, a recent public comment event on just such asensible land use designations by the Montpelier Planning Commission offered another wonderful example of  well articulated, local, Except-ionalism.  The Commission was proposing higher density development designations for various tracts including the Sabin’s pasture area to the east of town.  They offered an open house to present their proposals, and boy did they get an earful.

The supposed community response was except-ional. Over 85% of the people showing up to make any comments to the Planning Commission came from the very well to do College Street neighborhood. They were all abutters to Sabin’s Pasture. These citizens were incensed that such a high density designation could be given to an area that they considered part of their “traditional” neighborhood.   Perhaps higher density development might help Montpelier’s tax situation and long term sustainability.  Except, they argued, such public planning should not apply to them. Any new development would ruin the delicately maintained benefit of their long established neighborhood.  Of course it would also use up some lovely landscape the neighborhood considered its own private park. One complainer even suggested that planting more trees on this land would do more good for global warming than high density net zero housing.

In Montpelier’s central city we find another unsustainable situation that seemingly cannot be changed. Over 60% of the downtown is allocated to off street parking (It’s Time to Revolt Against the Empire of the Auto). In a warming world where we need to do something radical about our energy intensive economy based on the car, one would think that we could at least have a rational discussion about the colossal misuse of our core real estate.

Vermont's capital city, Montpelier, allocates a lot of space for cars.
Vermont’s capital city, Montpelier, allocates a lot of space for cars.

A while ago, in the Argus, I tried suggesting that more productive use could be found for our parking desert, I was chided in these pages by Alexandra Halasz asserting that “parking is a public good”. She is not alone. In countless discussions with friends since that essay, I have been impressed with the consistency of people’s responses to any suggested changes our local, auto-centric priorities. “Yes” others say, “we should certainly help get rid of the cars on our roads… Except, where I live that would be impossible. … But definitely I agree that people who can give up their should…. Its just that right now, out here in East Montpelier (Plainfield, Calais, etc), there is no way I could survive without the car and parking in town….” Of course they are right, except that we are running out of time to make serious changes in our lives in response to looming energy, climate and financial changes.

This leaves me wondering; if the supposedly greenest state in the country can’t figure out ways of solving these problems, how can we expect responsible choices from anyone else in the country?

Sanders Draws Thousands of Supporters to Portland Maine

THIS JUST IN…

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Watch Bernie Sanders in Portland Maine

Early estimates were saying around 2,500 people would show but over 9,000 supporters filled the arena

Hot on the heels of Sanders’ Wisconsin rally, that had over 10,000 turn out, supporters flocked to Portland Maine.

From Maine to California … the American people understand that establishment politics and establishment economics is not working for the middle class,” Sanders said before the large crowd.

“They understand that the greed of Wall Street and the greed of corporate America is destroying the middle class of this country,” Sanders said during his speech.

 

Senator Bernie Sanders (Brookings Institution/Flickr)

from Moyers & Company

Click here to read,

Social democracy is 100 percent American — here’s why

 

 


 

If you’re convinced you’d like Bernie Sanders to be president, here’s what you can do.

Visit Bernie’s official website and sign up to volunteer.

What does that mean?

Here is the list of things they need help with.
I bet you can find something to contribute!

  • leaflet voters
  • write letters to the editor
  • knock on doors
  • work in a campaign office
  • table at events
  • call voters
  • place lawn signs
  • data entry
  • host a meeting
  • host a fundraiser
  • host a house party
  • attend a house party
  • help fundraise online
  • what’s your idea?

Click here to volunteer

 

There’s always the money… Here’s why I think Bernie deserves financial contributions.

I’m impressed with the quality of the campaign’s digital outreach. They’re embracing the various platforms, like Facebook (when you “like” Bernie’s page, also choose “Get Notifications as this will insure you get all of their posts without the campaign having to buy ads, see bottom right corner of photo below), on Twitter, on YouTube and on Instagram, building a great website at break-neck speed and holding it to high standards. A financial contribution to Bernie’s campaign, I’m convinced, will be put to optimal use.

Nobody said this was going to be easy. Look at it this way, the Koch Brothers are pledging to spend $889 million on the 2016 campaign.

 

screenshot from Bernie's Facebook page
screenshot from Bernie’s Facebook page

 

   

Click here to contribute money

   
Bernie Sanders receives 2015 award from VFW

 

From Democracy Now!

CLICK HERE TO WATCH: A Socialist Surge in the U.S.? Bernie Sanders Draws Record Crowds, Praises Greek Anti-Austerity Vote