Commentary

Bean: Equitable Environmentalism

Embrace existing low-carbon power generation like hydro, nuclear, senate candidate says

by Paul Bean

I am proud that in Vermont, we value our natural resources, our environment, and the beautiful vistas across our state. And we continue to do better at protecting those every day. Energy must be reliable, sustainable, and affordable for everyone. 

Vermont’s current energy path is a leader in our nation on the‘clean’ part. But we must continue to improve our infrastructure and access to give us the reliability and affordability to transition effectively to our future. 

Paul Bean

One of the four pillars of the Paul Bean for Senate Campaign is a self-sufficient economy. This includes energy independence. Vermont must develop clean new electricity generation, upgrade our energy grid and expand current instate generation using developing technologies.

For years now the Vermont Legislature has been attempting to navigate the clean energy sector to ensure our supply is clean. To date we have spent millions on top of millions of dollars in our efforts. Despite the hard work we still have the nation’s highest power rates and are still highly reliant on out-of-state fossil fuel power. I believe the Vermont Senate must look beyond the status quo and find new opportunities for clean energy. 

First and foremost, we must protect existing clean sources of power throughout the state. I read recently that the State of Vermont is seeking action that could close a reliable power generator for 4,000 Lamoille County residents, the Morrisville-owned power dam on the Green River Reservoir. Not only does this dam create unparalleled scenic and recreational pleasure, it provides zero-carbon power generation. Yet the Agency of Natural Resources says environmental impacts – a reality for all dams, and all power generators – matter more than cost-effectiveness in state power generation. 

What else can we do? We can’t turn back the clock and reopen the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon, and frankly many Vermonters wouldn’t want to. The struggle to close the plant is still visible and fresh on our minds in our rearview. I am reminded of it when I drive into Montpelier on Route 12 seeing the overhead train bridge with the writing “Close VT Yankee.” 

Even as we pursue instate generation, we must rely on the regional power grid, too. New England still has two operating nuclear power plants delivering power to Vermont. North of the border, Quebec offers almost unlimited amounts of reliable, low-carbon power, at reasonable prices. The Vermont Senate must urge our utilities and state government to support these low-carbon power sources. They’re not in state, but they are nearby. Let’s use them.

Make no mistake, if Vermont is to move forward with electric vehicles and electric energy for heat, we will need a reliable supply and lots of it.

In order for us to effectively transition to a larger fleet of EVs and limit thermal emissions from homes we will have to work together to develop systems that will create infrastructure to distribute energy from sustainable sources while providing the most vulnerable Vermonters with the tools or support to do so. As your next Senator for Washington County any legislation that I sign on to or vote for would have to consider those three must haves: reliability, sustainability, and affordability.

Paul Bean is from Northfield, Vermont and a candidate for State Senate in Washington County, Braintree, Orange, Stowe

Categories: Commentary

3 replies »

  1. “Despite the hard work we still have the nation’s highest power rates”

    Not that I necessarily disagree with this guy but I really wish he’d just get his facts straight I’m tired of being lied to.

    Hawaii’s cost of electricity is significantly higher than Vermont’s.

    We are 9th, and to go along with this article we really shouldn’t rely on other states for electricity at all if we want our independence then we must also be energy independent which is the same problem our nation faces.

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/630090/states-with-the-average-electricity-price-for-the-residential-sector-in-the-us/

  2. Mere campaign propaganda is all this piece is. A few catch phrases and a cursory mention of nuclear power, with little substance to Bean’s words.
    Vermont’s legislature is so beholden to special interest particularly for energy matters that neither chamber can be trusted to legislate in the interest of Residents or ratepayers. The false notion that electrically powered mini-split heat pumps and battery-electric vehicles will ‘save the planet’ is false dichotomy forced upon us by special interest and codified by ignorant legislators.
    Even the definition of “Public Good” has been so bastardized by environmental groups, special interest and the legislature that it’s current meaning has little to do with the ‘public good’.
    As we watch the real fallout be administratively forced upon us via the GWSA and the ‘revenue’ extracted from taxpayers, ratepayers and every source in between- cripple Vermont’s already shaky economy and infrastructure, we have no one to blame but ourselves- for our votes or lack of- and our complacency to believe this is all ‘settled science’.
    In the battle between physics and platitudes, physics remains undefeated.

  3. Frank, you’re right—this piece is undeniably a part of Paul Bean’s campaign for a seat in the Senate. But it is also an effort to let voters know in advance where he stands, which is more than the majority in the legislature does. It also suggests a few more solutions than you offer in your response. And it clearly sets him apart from the impractical, expensive plans that the current legislative majority proposes in an effort to make Vermont “lead the nation.” So Frank, what are you going to do on Election Day? Vote to re-elect the Democratic majority? Sit home complaining but not voting? Or vote for a new, young candidate who may not have all the answers but who is willing to put himself out in public, challenging the current orthodoxy and inviting a rational discussion?

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