• Citizens’ voices often overlooked
    October 18,2012

    Citizens’ voices often overlooked

    In response to comments from George Plumb on Sept. 30 and Sue Prent on Oct. 5: Ironic that seemingly having opposed views on the Vermont Natural Resources Council, both citizens have the same concerns for the Vermont environment, unfavorable growth, sprawl and keeping Vermont just the way we like it. I have no doubt, Vermonters aspire to progress for our state; the challenge lies in doing so in a responsible way.

    I agree with Ms. Prent in supporting VNRC, a nonprofit organized in helping citizens in seeking positive environmental initiatives; such groups are needed. In forming a group of residents in Graniteville, I myself, in opposing an asphalt plant locating in our community, called upon Toxics Action Center, a similar nonprofit. Our group has found TAC to be of great assistance in working alongside our residents in support of our view of preserving our environment and quality of life.

    I believe fault does not lie within the nonprofits but in our state and regulating agencies that are responsible for setting standards and enforcing them. Although Vermont touts the image as being one of the strictest for environmental standards, all is lost from inadequate enforcement due to understaffing. In fact we rely on a type of honor system here in our state, which trusts industry with a self-reporting system to report whether they comply to set regulations and standards. How ridiculous is that? Also the state’s Act 250 process, responsible for ensuring “responsible growth while preserving the environment,” boasts a 98 percent corporate permitting rate in our state. At 98 percent, I call that allowance of corporate takeover, not a responsible assurance for a green, healthy Vermont.

    My input is one of suggestion to all residents concerned for Vermont’s environment. If you haven’t already, get involved with local community groups in getting your views and concerns heard. Too often we leave it to a choice few. A voice heard can move mountains.

    Secondly, it’s election time — take advantage of it. Vote for those whom not only state views for preserving our state, but take action in doing so. Support candidates you’ve observed being involved with residents and community groups. Such candidates I can vouch in support of are Ed Stanak, candidate for attorney general, Sens. Anthony Pollina and Bill Doyle, and Rep. Topper McFaun. It’s important to take note of the candidate behind their position and actions: The party doesn’t get the job done, the candidate does. Vote the individual, not the party.

    Lori Bernier


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