Fossil Fuel Special Interests Attempting to Ban Wind Power in Vermont, Offer Money to Protest Wind

Two Vermont state Senators aligned with fossil fuel special interests this month in a bid to place a moratorium on new wind power installations for the state. Senators Robert Hartwell and Joe Benning announced a plan earlier this month that would place a three year moratorium on new wind energy installations in Vermont.

The plan, which had no viable rationale,  immediately drew fire from top environmentalists and environmental advocates in Congress.

Senator Bernie Sanders was one of the most outspoken detractors, stating: “I have no doubt, but that if Vermont ceases new wind development the message will go out all across the country, spread by well-funded coal and oil companies, that even in Vermont, even in progressive Vermont, even in environmentally conscious Vermont, there is not a serious commitment to combating global warming.”

Other top environmental organizations opposing the moratorium include: VPIRG, the Conservation Law Foundation, 350Vermont, the Vermont chapter of the Sierra Club, the Vermont Natural Resources Council, the Citizens Awareness Network, the Northeast chapter of the National Wildlife Federation, and the Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance. These compose almost all the top environmental organizations in the state.

Despite broad environmentalist opposition to the ban, Hartwell and Benning are attempting to greenwash their fossil-fuel benefitting bill, using specious arguments to compare wind energy with coal mountaintop removal. The kind of dirty, dangerous and climate-damaging activities wind energy directly replaces.

In a related issue, fossil fuel special interests in Europe offered money to individuals who would protest wind energy. The catch, made by Grist, showed a Craigslist advertisement offering $20 per hour to protest wind farms in the UK. Though no particular firm was mentioned in the ad, it was obvious who would stand to benefit from a faux appearance of public unrest against wind.

Increasingly, fossil fuel companies are using outside groups and second sources to funnel money into activities meant to maintain their dominance while concealing their under-handed activities. Current efforts are aimed at leveraging state senators to deny and delay advancement of clean energy technologies, funneling monies into organizations like ALEC to support such efforts, and, as seen above, pushing alternative energy bans and drumming up fake protests.


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