VNRC's hard work unfairly attacked
George Plumb's letter Sept. 30, attacking the Vermont Natural Resources Council for not sufficiently protecting the environment, stunned me.
Quoting piecemeal, he took exception to a sentence from an interview with Elizabeth Courtney, former executive director of the VNRC, “It is commendable that we've found a way to grow our economy while maintaining the health of our environment.”
He somehow managed to interpret this as a “claim” by the VNRC rather than a positive outlook on Vermont's better record of environmental stewardship, on balance, than that of any other state.
Earlier in the same interview, she plainly states, “I am no Pollyanna; I do believe we are in big trouble,” going on to agree with Bill McKibben's characterization: “Our almost-but-not-quite finally hopeless predicament.”
The remainder of his diatribe focuses on how good Vermont used to be, rather than providing a practical vision for the future.
Apparently, he is angry that the VNRC has been unable to stop all unfavorable growth and sprawl in the state rather than curb and redirect some of its momentum.
That would be a tall order, especially for an organization that must depend upon the generosity of sympathetic donors to fund all of its efforts.
In St. Albans we, the Northwest Citizens for Responsible Growth, have, for an extended period of nearly 20 years, relied upon the help of the VNRC to combat the threat of big-box sprawl from the largest Wal-Mart proposed in the state. The VNRC fought this same project twice all the way to the Supreme Court, successfully the first time. When forced to fight it a second time, we ultimately lost the battle. I can promise that no effort was spared.
This struggle represents just a fraction of the work of the VNRC, which tackles land use and water issues across the state while advocating for effective legislation toward positive environmental initiatives. How many similar battles does he expect the VNRC to tackle with its extremely limited resources?
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