Rep. Margaret Cheney named to Public Service Board

Gov. Peter Shumlin announced Monday that Rep. Margaret Cheney, D-Norwich, will assume David Coen’s position on the three-member Public Service Board.

Cheney will take her seat on Oct. 1 with the quasi-judicial board, responsible for regulating Vermont utility and telecom issues. Board members serve six-year stints, and Coen’s tenure officially ended in February of this year. Former Gov. Howard Dean appointed Coen, and he has remained on until Shumlin appointed a replacement.

Cheney, who is married to Vermont’s U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, is resigning from the Legislature and, consequently, as vice chair of the House Energy Committee.

“Margaret brings a critical combination of expertise in policy and public engagement,” Shumlin said in a statement. “Her track record as a former journalist, school board chair, teacher, legislator, and vice-chair of a key energy committee is impressive. Her commitment to civic involvement and her familiarity with Vermont energy policy make her a perfect addition to the Board.”

Cheney has been a leader in the Green Mountain State for renewable energy reforms and programs that make more efficient use of resources.

House Speaker Shap Smith said she would be missed in the Legislature.

“Margaret has been incredibly important to that (energy) committee, working with representative Klein and others on the committee to flesh out and understand how Vermont can move towards an energy future that is less reliant on carbon,” he said. “Margaret will be a great fit for the Public Service Board. She is really well versed in energy and land-use policy and is reasonable and fair-minded and will be a great person to have on the board.”

Cheney will earn a salary of $86,000 a year.

Andrew Stein

Comments

  1. Keith Stern :

    And the rich get richer. Gotta love politics.

  2. Paul Zabriskie :

    An excellent appointment. Cheney is an excellent listener and clear thinker on the challenging interrelationship between of energy supply, energy costs, and environmental consequences of our energy decisions.

    • Kathy Nelson :

      Paul, you are very wrong in your appreciation of Cheney. She opposes any participation of communities and towns in the siting and placement of energy generation. She doesn’t listen to anyone who opposes the corporate interests that have funded the careers of her, her husband or the governor with whom she shares party affiliation. She proposed a bill to have storm water permit appeals go before the PSB rather than the environmental court because local opposition to the First Wind turbine project in Sheffield held up the project for two years in environmental court.
      Cheney has made her stance against the people of Vermont very clear. What we the people of Vermont have agreed to in our town plans and local zoning laws don’t matter to her and she has no intention of listening. Her appointment to the PSB is just another example of crony capitalism courtesy of our ethically challenged governor.
      Why do you think Cheney even applied for the position when she was holding a seat in the statehouse, sitting on the energy committee and has influence over a member of the DC delegation? Could it be because of our brutal act 248 that allows the PSB to stomp all over the locals’ right to protect their townspeople and their natural resources from corporate harm? Her motives are highly suspect and her appointment clearly to the detriment of the people of VT.

      • Dave Stevens :

        Kathy, I think that you overlooked that Governor Shumlin created the energy generation siting commission that specifies public input and participation in the siting process. And that is in addition to all of the public hearings that the opposition turns into something that resembles a Bread & Puppet show. And why wouldn’t the governor appoint someone who shares his philosophy on renewables? He’s not going to appoint Senator Joe Benning. In conclusion, Margaret Cheneys appointment is certainly a win for renewable energy advocates, but probably to the detriment to the opposition.
        Cheers

        • Keith Stern :

          Not to mention a loss for taxpayers who foot the bill for unrealistic solar and wind projects and for those of us who would rather see green pastures and Vermont’s beautiful mountains not chopped off.
          I wonder if she supports the proposed biomass plant in North Springfield that will be 30% efficient and create huge amounts of unnecessary pollution. I wonder how many solar collectors it takes to offset the damage from this one plant.
          Anyone know the answer to that?

        • Randy Koch :

          A Bread and Puppet approach is exactly what’s needed for the Public Service Board. They are such techno-zombies even now that it would be but a small step just go ahead and wear puppet masks. Participants could then be clear that with the PSB, we are not dealing with a democratic process but with a demonic world of suggestion, dark metaphor, pregnant silences…

    • Paul,

      It is proper to look at part of her track record in the legislature.

      She is an originator/promoter of the RE SPEED program and Lowell-type ridge line wind turbine plants.

      Both programs are financial fiascos, which I, by email, informed her committee members would happen more than 3 years ago, based on performance of nearby ridge line wind turbine plants in Maine.

      Their build-outs will become a major burden on Vermont’s economy. Stupidly using other people’s money to actualize political agendas in the name of “fighting GW, doing something about GW” is in vogue in Montpelier.

      1) Vermont’s RE SPEED program is about as much of a fiasco as Lowell, based on production numbers on the DPS website.

      2010, last six months: 13.87 c/kWh
      2011: 16.44
      2012: 17.16
      2013, first eight months: 19.30

      Note the RISING cost/kWh. NE annual average grid prices have been about 5 c/kWh since 2008!!!

      Various RE promoters have been saying RE costs/kWh would be DECLINING; are they just making it up to befuddle lay people?

      For the 2010 – 2017 period, a cumulative $131,220,058 excess above grid prices will have been rolled into electric rates of already-struggling households and businesses. 

      http://vermontspeed.com/speed-monthly-production/
      http://vermontspeed.squarespace.com/project-status/

      2) GMP, purposely disregarding the advice of its own power system engineers, and disregarding the 5-yr nearby Maine ridge line CFs of about 0.25, and disregarding the New York State multi-year average CFs of about 0.235, claimed (lied?) in documents filed with the PSB:

      GMP CF claim: Standard rotor (90 m dia) = 63 x 8760 x 0.2842 = 156,844 MWh/yr
      GMP and DPS SPEED website claims = 63 x 8760 x 0.338 = 186,570 MWh/yr 
      GMP CF claim: Large rotor (117 m dia) = 63 x 8760 x 0.3587 = 197,959 MWh/yr 

      NOTE: In the REAL world, these GMP claims turned out not worth the paper they were written on, but the PSB, in GW-fighting mode, found no fault with them. Protecting the interests of the public? Sure.

      NOTE: Lowell’s CF for the first 6 months of 2013 was 0.189, with more such fiasco numbers to follow for years.
      This means the COST of wind energy is not a tolerable 10 c/kWh, per GMP Lowell spreadsheets, but closer to a hardship 15-20 c/kWh.

      http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/61309/lowell-mountain-wind-turbine-facility-vermont

  3. Right, just as we have been hearing in recent days, there are no politics on the PSB.

    The business is open sign welcoming wind turbine developers to Vermont just went up.

  4. This is great news, the only downside is that we lose a smart and insightful policy-maker in the Legislature.

    • Kathy Nelson :

      The only good side is that the people of Windsor County now have the opportunity to correct the mistakes they made when they voted Cheney into office. Maybe this time they can find someone who actually cares about the people of VT and doesn’t use the position to cater to the big corps in Canada, China and Europe.

  5. Jim Christiansen :

    While she is certainly qualified, Ms. Cheney has accepted campaign contributions from major corporate players in Vermont’s energy industry (http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/candidate.phtml?c=142351)

    As a quasi-judicial board, the PSB makes legal decisions makes on behalf of all Vermonters.

    The appearance of impartiality is a high standard that Ms Cheney must meet given her political background. I’d be interested to hear her discuss how she plans to separate her new public service position from her political career.

  6. Warren Kitzmiller :

    I am very disappointed to see the snarky comments from Keith Stern and Peter Yankowski. Clearly, they do not know Margaret Cheney!

    I congratulate Rep. Cheney on her new position and will miss her as a colleague. Governor Shumlin could not have found another person with her experience, dedication and ability. She will do an excellent job!

  7. Warren, you’re a good man and I highly respect the job you have done on the House Commerce Committee over the years, but I’ll have to differ with you in this case.

    Rep. Cheney, as it states in Andrew’s twitter piece and is otherwise well known, is a leader for renewable energy reform and in this state that means charging full speed ahead to achieve 90% renewables at apparently any economic or environmental cost. While sitting on the House Natural Resources Committee, she sat by silently when Tony Klein callously pronounced he didn’t need to hear from the neighbors of wind turbines.

    Given the contentiousness that exists in the state today over wind turbines and the angst that exists over wind decisions made by the PSB, putting an energy renewable advocate on what is suppose to be an impartial board is very troublesome and sends the wrong message.

    All of this doesn’t mean Rep. Cheney isn’t a good person, which I believe she is, but we can’t forget perception. In this case the perception light is blinking red and the alarms should be sounding.

    Put another way, what would the reaction be if Annette Smith, who is also a good, well informed and intelligent person, had she been appointed to the PSB in instead of Rep. Cheney?

    • Warren Kitzmiller :

      Thanks Peter,

      I wish you had posted this comment first! Reasoned, well written comments, even if I might not agree, are much better for public discourse than short, cheap shots.

      I say that only because I have, on occasion, been on the wrong side of my own argument.

      No worries, mate.

      Warren Kitzmiller

    • Annette Smith :

      Interesting question, Peter. Some people might respond by looking for those flying pigs. (I did apply for the position once, years ago. Some people asked me about it this year and I know when not to waste my time).

      I will offer one recent observation about Rep. Cheney. She attended the PSB’s August hearing on GMP’s violations of the noise standard for the Lowell wind project. I thought, “good for her, a legislator is actually showing interest in what happens at the Board.” Then I watched as she sat with GMP’s people, and waved and smiled to GMP’s general counsel, who then came and sat next to her. (GMP is represented by outside counsel in the PSB process, the general counsel has not been representing GMP before the Board).

      Assuming she was there to observe her future job, she might have been more discrete in her overt friendliness to GMP’s general counsel and the GMP team. Whether as a legislator or a potential appointee to the PSB, her lack of prudence under the circumstances was unfortunate.

      That said, I wish her luck. The Board deals with a range of very technical issues and no matter who takes the position, unless they are in the utility field, it is a steep learning curve. She replaces David Coen, whose track record is to support the Chair. Only Burke has dissented. So in the grand scheme of things this appointment likely means no change in how the PSB rules. I’m still waiting for a decision where Coen and Burke agree, and Volz dissents. Since Coen will stay on for the gas pipeline, maybe he will make his swan song a memorable one.

  8. Steven Post :

    Margaret Cheney has earned her seat at the PSB table by hard work, continuous learning and steady listening. I think Vermont and Vermonters will benefit.

    • Kathy Nelson :

      You are absolutely wrong and obviously don’t know Cheney’s record at all.

    • Hi Steven,
      Please see my above comment.
      Willem Post

  9. David Black :

    Anything Shumlin does these days is too controversial with bias and a hidden agenda. She will be a great yes sir, yes sir, yes sir puppet.

  10. Matt Fisken :

    I was hoping Rep. Cheney would be more inquisitive during my testimony regarding smart meters to the House Energy Committee in March, considering we are practically neighbors and the bulk of my research on the issue took place in her hometown.

    In this video (http://vimeo.com/58379252) you can hear her speak about her trip to Germany to learn about their aggressive energy plan (still not as ambitious as Vermont’s).

    It’s too bad Vermont did not reject smart meters as Germany has based on their very unlikely return on investment (disregarding the health/environmental impacts).

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-01/germany-rejects-eu-smart-meter-recommendations-on-cost-concerns.html

    From 5 years ago:
    http://publicservice.vermont.gov/sites/psd/files/Topics/Electric/Smart_Grid/Docket_7307/VermontReportFinal%5B1%5D.doc

    “[T]he operational net benefits in aggregate are negative for the 9 utilities for which costs and operational benefits were estimated—that is, the cost of the [advanced metering infrastructure] system over its assumed 20-year life exceeds the estimated operational savings. However, this negative result is driven by the strongly negative business case for GMP, whose current meter reading costs are extremely low due to the business practice of reading meters EVERY OTHER MONTH as well as the fact that the company uses mobile AMR to read roughly one third of its meters.” (emphasis added)

    Clearly the subsidy (ARRA 2009) that paid for half of Vermont’s smart meters changed those numbers significantly, but that $69 million we received during the hectic aftermath of the 2008 economic meltdown did not grow on trees. However, GMP only expects “10-15 years of productive use from [smart] meters…” http://vtdigger.org/2012/12/26/fisken-looking-for-answers-from-gmp/#comment-46708

    So now that GMP has deployed close to 250,000 smart meters, why are they reading the analog meters for customers who have opted out EVERY MONTH?

    http://smartermeters.blogspot.com/2012/01/dented-cans-are-half-price.html

    • Moshe Braner :

      They’re sending somebody every month to walk up and read the “smart” meter that they gave me, since it’s in a location where it can’t talk to the “mother ship”. I could predict the lack of reception, but not their dumb decision to put a smart meter there anyway.

  11. Bob Stannard :

    I’ve sat in the House Nat. Res. Committee for six years. I have a lot of time and experience watching Rep. Cheney and how she interacts with witnesses.

    She’s smart, courteous (more so than many of the respondents here) and a person of her convictions. You may not agree with her and that’s your prerogative, but you will not out work her.

    It’s worthy to note that those here opposing Rep. Cheney’s appointment are the same folks who oppose renewable energy.

    And to my old friend, Annette Smith, I find your comments about Rep. Cheney acknowledging representatives of GMP to be petty. Presumably these were people who she knew and had testified before her committee. Would you prefer that she act more like you and snub people that she may, or may not, like?

    If Rep. Cheney’s biggest sin is being nice to most people then I think she’ll be a fine, objective voice on this board. And when it comes to wasting time I think I remember that you called for a recount of a vote that you knew you could not win. That wasted time and money.

    • Annette Smith :

      Bob, I think you are sensitive to public perception, and if you had applied to be appointed to an impartial body, you would be aware of appearances when in the room on a contentious issue that would be a subject of your future work. Others who were in the room noted the same thing I did and brought it up to me yesterday after the news came out. I shared the observation, and then wished her luck. Nothing petty about it.

      As for your personal attack on me, your friends who only see things one way and choose to yell at me instead of engage in a civil discourse on the issues have made their views well known and are not open to dialogue. I will work with anyone who wants to work with me, and always have.

      The recount is not relevant to this discussion, but since you raised it, I will point out that numerous problems with the state’s vote reporting system were identified and in the end it was a very educational experience providing excellent information about how to improve the process, probably at a cheap price for what was gained. If Vermonters can have more confidence that their votes will be counted accurately, that’s a win for everyone.

    • Matt Fisken :

      Bob writes: “It’s worthy to note that those here opposing Rep. Cheney’s appointment are the same folks who oppose renewable energy.”

      I think this statement illustrates why we have a long way to go before reaching a point where we find solutions to our energy challenges (climate imposed, geology imposed and policy imposed) upon which we can all agree.

      I would suggest that very few (if any) Vermonters are “opposed to renewable energy” and claiming/believing they are is counterproductive. I think the important issue is how we define “renewable energy.”

      While it is convenient to group all technologies which CAPTURE energy from natural resources and convert it to electricity into this category, this ignores the fact that 60 Hz power is not renewable, it depends on the largest, most complex system in the world (the grid), and has serious environmental and health consequences which vary depending on the scale of the transmission and proximity to biology.

      Add to that the fact that so many “renewable energy” projects require non-renewable materials that are destructively mined in far off lands, jeopardizing the health and wellbeing of those locals and populations, and you begin to understand why so many Vermonters question the value of erecting massive IWTs and covering fields with silicon wafers imported from China.

      What a growing number of Vermonters are understanding is that there are “high technologies” which are purportedly renewable and then there are “appropriate technologies” that do not get commercialized, subsidized, or glamorized, but fit the definition of “renewable energy” much better.

      If you’ve ever cut firewood by hand on your own land, maximized your windows to harvest the low winter sun and block the cold north wind, or eaten/preserved food out of your garden, then you know what I’m talking about and have only respect and admiration for RENEWABLE ENERGY.

      I think the people Bob refers to are actually opposed to the prostitution of our natural resources to sell or build infrastructure that fulfills a very shallow need we have for feeling clever or important, but slowly and surely eats away at our life force, or THE renewable energy.

    • frank seawright :

      Bob is certainly wrong when he says “same folks who oppose renewable energy. “
      I erected the first wind turbine in the town of Windham, I live just east of Glebe Mt and would have gotten the brunt of any turbines on Glebe Mt. And I supported the project. Since the Glebe Mt project was abandoned I’ve learned a lot – my own small wind turbine was very disappointing. It never produced what I was let believe it would, it iced up twice even though I was told that never happened in Vermont, it was struck by lightening once, and lastly it was so battered by the rough wind coming over Glebe Mt that it destroyed the turbine and shook out all the bolts holding it onto the tower. I have taken it down, but have not lost my enthusiasm for renewable energy. I am currently having a solar panel array installed through the innovative PUP program put together by Energize Vermont – and that should begin next week.

      I know that Annette Smith lives off grid and has done so for many years. Many of the “opposers” will have solar panels installed at their homes and I do not know of a single person opposing wind turbines in Vermont who is opposed to conservation and renewable energy. What we do oppose is using the wrong technology in the wrong place. Further, we all oppose any legislation that is so poorly written as to enable practically any charlatan to wriggle through the eligibility screen for the sole purpose of skimming off money that could be much better spent.

      • Moshe Braner :

        Thank you Frank for, er, being frank. Well said. We have a lot of rules that seem to support renewable energy but only when it enriches the rich. For example, the “net metering” rules which discourage conservation (since one is never paid for excess energy production) – unless one is politically connected enough to bureaucratically link the production to unrelated consumption.

  12. Bob, the issue here isn’t whether or not Rep. Cheney is smart, nice or courteous. I’m sure she possesses all of these qualities and more.

    The issue is placing someone on the PSB, which is supposed to be an impartial body, who has a record of pushing renewable energy initiatives at every opportunity offered. This is about the Governor creating a situation, which at best raises perception issues and at worse, well lets hope the future PSB votes don’t make the perception reality.

    • Bob Stannard :

      The issue here is, Peter , that you don’t like Gov. Shumlin. For you, and others, to insinuate that Margaret Cheney will not be an objective member of the PSB is inaccurate and unfair.

      You probably won’t agree with her, but remember many of us lived through George Bush & Jim Douglas’ administrations. What you’re complaining about is the results of an election. You should be grateful that Gov. Shumlin is appointing a person who is thoughtful and will be objective.

      • Jim Christiansen :

        Bob,

        The fact is that Ms. Cheney has taken political donations from corporate energy players in Vermont. That is an alarming potential conflict of interest, especially when we are discussing an appointment to a quasi-judicial board that will have the final say on energy projects in Vermont.

        It is flat out wrong to label those who question her ability to separate politics from her new position as inaccurate or unfair.

        As Hillary said “I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration somehow you’re not patriotic”.

        I’m sick of those who use name calling to shout down those who disagree with principled positions.

        • Bob Stannard :

          You’re going to be hard pressed to find anyone in the legislature who has not accepted corporate donations from somebody.

          Remember, she’s leaving the legislature so it no longer matters. Frankly, I don’t know of many reps or Sen. who accept enough money from anyone to be beholden to a donor. Vermont’s a small place and it’s good that we keep it that way.

          • Randy Koch :

            I agree it is not the pitiful little campaign contributions that influence the Cheneys of this world. They inhabit an influential stratum because they know what is expected of them and they just do it. To behave otherwise would be to have old friends avert their eyes, cross the street. Before you know it, you find yourself reduced to writing comments in vtdigger.

          • Carl Werth :

            Or you find yourself writing comments that never appear…

        • Vanessa Mills :

          Indeed.
          Re: “As Hillary said “I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration somehow you’re not patriotic”.
          Note: Wasn’t it Thomas Jefferson who said, “Voicing of dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” ?

  13. rosemarie jackowski :

    Seems like Rep. Cheney is a nice lady with the right connections. BUT, it sure does give the appearance of ‘cronyism’.

  14. Don Hooper :

    Fascinating conversation here. Thanks Digger. Couldn’t have happened in real time even a few years ago. For what it’s worth (probably not much), I ditto Bob Stannard, Paul Zabiskie, George Twigg and Warren Kitzmiller. For me, Margaret Cheney personifies diligence, fairness, and yes, commitment to reversing Climate Change. Margaret Cheney exemplifies civility and thoughtful deliberation. I have every confidence she’ll be attentive, engaged, then do what’s right.

  15. Vanessa Mills :

    Shumlin’s stacking the deck here. Period.

    Renewables need to be looked at with critical thought. Just because it bears the ‘renewables’ label does not make it an auomatic wise choice for Vermont. Critical points with regard to renewables done smartly, done right, done with justice to Vermont , to its people, and to climate/environmental issues include these: scale, siting, setbacks, safety, scope and purpose (truthful purpose!).

    • Bob Stannard :

      Is that not what former Gov. Jim Douglas did when he appointed all Republicans to the PSB? And for the record, Gov. Douglas gets to do that because he’s the governor. It’s what governors do. You can call it stacking the deck if you want and that’s fine. It goes with winning the election.

      If you don’t like it then vote him out and someone else in….who will also stack the deck. The real issue here is that you don’t like the person who’s doing the stacking and that’s fine. Nothing says you have to. But you have to live with the consequences of an election. Sometimes it’s easy to live with those consequences and sometimes it’s not.

      • Vanessa Mills :

        And your point is………………..

        You entirely missed mine about critically thinking about
        the ‘renewables’ tag, sir. Renewables done smartly (regarding, scale, siting, etc!)are what should be pursued by ANY leader at this point in time.
        Currently, it might indeed be about strategy, and stacking the deck and schmoozing donors and lack of transparency and arrogant agendas and placing those in position to carry out said agendas; yes sir, that’s politics. Is that your point?

        My point is that we have serious issues to deal with, regarding the socio-economics and the environment and the future of this state, not to mention the co2 emissions issue, and we ought to be dealing with these smartly and doing the right things for the right reasons, uniting Vermonters for common goals of conserving resources and preserving the quality-of-life for all. Instead of accepting the back-of-the-bus for the likes and interests of the Big Dogs/Big Donors. Folks have a right to know, at least. But that’s not the way it is, right, Bob?

        And setting up the PSB to even further disenfranchise the public is moving backwards. The governor’s DGA gathering last weekend at the Manchester Equinox dis-allowing the press and fortifying non-transparency was somewhat appalling. But maybe not to those who blindly support him and who might not be interesting in critically thinking about his agendas. Just because you vote for Shumlin, or any other leader/legislator in this state, doesn’t mean you have to disengage you critical thinking processes and give the green light of acceptance all-the-way, right or wrong.

        • Bob Stannard :

          And while we’re busy doing our critical thinking about renewables we’re heating up our planet. We should’ve address the issue a decade ago, but we humans don’t like change much. We’d rather take the wait and see approach until it’s too late.

          We now have people opposed to wind and solar and probably hydro if we’re doing any and just about anything else out there that might make even a small difference.

          Wind makes us sick. Solar fields make up go blind. Whatever.

          RE: the PSB – the governor is doing nothing to disenfranchise anyone nor is the PSB. The PSB is governed by rules and the law. It’s functioned this way for a long time and done so without any real problem. Have I liked or agreed with all of their decisions. No. Do I feel that the process was unfair. No. You do. You have the right to feel that way. If you want to change it run for the House/Senate get elected and change it.

          RE: The DGA meeting. I don’t know for sure but I don’t think those meetings are open to the public. Should they be? I don’t know. Are the RGA meeting open? If so, then both should. I don’t think any actions of great import are taken at these meetings. The actions take place back home where the public has ample opportunity to be heard.

          The problem is that those doing the listen may not agree with you. That happens all the time. It’s called Democracy. You can participate in it, as I did, or you can complain about it. You’re going to be more effective if you participate in the process and understand how it works.

          I go back to your comments of Gov Shumlin “stacking the deck”, to which I would reply, “Duh”. It’s his right to appoint anyone he wants. Don’t you think those who support him might be a little angry if he appointed an anti-wind person?

          His job is to appoint the person he feels would be best for the job. He has the luxury of being partisan about if he wants to.

          I can appreciate your frustration. I’m still angry over the appointment of Chief Justice Roberts. That guy is going to be around for a long time and, in my opinion, will be doing plenty of damage. I guess I could go out in the woods (or hear) and scream about it, but to what end?

          If you don’t like who the governor’s appointing then run for governor and win, so we can all gather together here and bitch about whoever you appoint to whatever board.

          • Keith Stern :

            Sorry but you are wrong. Global warming is actually not the case. Global climate change is real and occurs naturally with or without us. You bought into the fraud.

          • Annette Smith :

            Please do not ridicule the people who are sick. If Seager Therrien was your 3 1/2 year old grandchild you would be afraid for his development and desperate to find him a new place to live, not making fun of how he is feeling. He jumps off a swingset as soon as it starts moving, he tells his mother to slow down when she is driving 30 mph. He and his parents (and who knows what is happening to his younger sister) are seriously ill because of their ongoing exposure to First Wind’s Sheffield turbines. Help find a solution, don’t make fun of them, please.

            Before you again attack the people who are being harmed, please go visit them and talk to them yourselves. The damage being done to people is very serious.

            Better yet, offer to trade homes with them for a month. Live frugally off grid the way they do, and give them a chance to get some sleep. See for yourself what happens. Or buy them out and give them a chance to have a life. We are all adults and should be working together to find solutions.

            This is what our state’s leaders should be focusing on, addressing the problems and not allowing more people to be harmed.

            And nobody has ever claimed solar makes you blind. This kind of uncivil rhetoric has no place in this discussion.

        • Keith Stern :

          CO2 output is lower now than in the 90’s. As far as pollution they are using technology to clean the exhaust so there is very little pollution. Check out diesel vehicles now.
          Natural gas and oil provide high paying jobs, energy freedom, and the ability to compete globally with less expensive products so we can restart our diminished workforce.
          So what do you want to tell your kids; at one time we used to have a booming economy but now we substituted that for fields full of solar collectors and chopped off mountains with wind turbines. At least we aren’t creating greenhouse gasses.

      • Annette Smith :

        Did Gov. Douglas “appoint all Republicans to the PSB?”

        Board Member Coen, whose term is up and is choosing to retire, was first appointed by Gov. Dean in the mid-1990s. He was reappointed by Gov. Douglas.

        Board Member Burke was appointed by Gov. Dean in Dec. 2000 after Suzanne Rude retired. Concerns were raised during his confirmation hearings based on his lack of familiarity with utility issues, and the Senate Finance Committee was split on his confirmation, voting 4-3. But he has a solid legal background and record of public service. There is no mention of his politics in the Rutland Herald article I found in the archive, and his bio does not mention any political activities. He was reappointed by Gov. Douglas in 2009.

        Chair Volz had been the head of the Public Service Department’s Office of Public Advocy (essentially the Department’s lawyers) since 1989. In 2005, Douglas chose to replace Michael Dworkin with Volz, perhaps because of Dworkin’s known support for wind energy. There is no mention of Volz’s politics in the archived Rutland Herald article I found. At the request of parties, Volz recused himself from the Vermont Yankee dry cask storage case because of his former work at the Department. Volz has approved all but one wind project. Volz was reappointed by Shumlin in 2012.

        Gov. Douglas did fill Act 250 commission positions in a partisan way. But political appointments to the PSB do not seem to have not occurred in at least the last 18 years, until now.

      • Justin Turco :

        Here’s some news for you Bob. The concerns that go along with destroying mountaintop ecosystems for useless industrial wind turbines are important to both red and blue voters. It’s something that Democrats and Republicans agree on. Of course if you were never faced with it in your neighborhood, you wouldn’t care. The other thing that would keep you supportive is cold hard cash. Wind developers have plenty of that.

        I’ve got no problem with Margaret Cheney unless she actually has taken money from the wind industry. If she has then there is a conflict of interest. Gov. Shumlin should have picked someone who could think in a nonbiased way. Apparently that is not the type of person he wanted in there.

        I don’t appreciate that.

  16. Fred Woogmaster :

    Qualified? Highly! Competent? No question.
    Personable? Without a doubt.

    The very best applicant for the job (a judgment call)?
    We will never know.

    The ultra politically connected wife of Vermont’s lone Congressman? Well known public knowledge.

    Is the appointment compatible with our politically shrewd Governor’s ambition? We may not know but HE does.

    We can’t blame him. He is simply playing the game of American partisan politics – and playing it quite well.

  17. Political cronyism at its worst.On appearances alone, the governor once again demonstrates a lack of ethics and common sense. A political plum in the tradition of old line patronage
    abuse. Come on Peter…

    Brian Flynn
    Craftsbury Common, Vt

  18. Don Peterson :

    Act 248 and the Public Service Board are governmental constructs adopted more or less globally for one reason: to ensure that “Public Good” trumps “Private Gain”.

    THere is nothing wrong with this in concept, But to Margaret Cheney I have this to say:

    There is often not very much to comfort the observer that the Public Good is accurately measured by the PSB. Recent hearings have convinced me that the PSB allows corporations to hide behind a veil of “proprietary information” that which the public has a right to know. A failure to be curious is not a flattering trait in a custodian of the Public Good.

    Tell us what Lowell Mtn in producing in real time, and let us decide if its in the Public Good or not.

    • Don Peterson :

      My point about Lowell Mtn electrical output is to remind the PSB that stated projections about production (the basis of evaluating Public Good) do not guarantee actual production.

      Will the projects before the Board now suffer the same failure to produce (Tony Kleins famous “bump in the road”)that has plagued KCW?

      If so, the the Public Good side of the argument is diminished accordingly. In Lowell, a failure to ask the right questions cost a great deal of Public Good.

  19. Annette Smith :

    Act 248 is a law about mental health. The Public Service Board administers Section 248.

  20. Wayne Andrews :

    It is fairly obvious that those comments contained herein do not represent the average “Joe” in Vermont. Its not about a Democrat or Republican being appointed its about that appointee can be fair and impartial when most of their decisions reflect otherwise. Would all of you say the same if this appointment would be a district court judge?
    This state was run better back in the 50’s when farmers made most of the decisions. It was fair, well thought out process with honesty and wisdom busting out at the seems.

  21. After reading the above posts by Bob Stannard, there’s no doubt that he would be defending the nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court and chiding those who raised questions about Bork’s ability to be impartial.

    Put Bob down as pro Robert Bork. No need to hear what the neighbors think on this.

    • Peter,
      During moratorium days, I recall pro-RE Klein not wanting to hear from neighbors who opposed placing 459-ft high wind turbines near their houses.

  22. Phil Lovely :

    So it continues. To the winner goes the spoils. And we do have an active system of spoils. Ms. Cheney’s innate goodness is not the issue. I do not question her personal qualities.

    I question her willingness to make the hard decisions about Vermont’s energy future in a balanced way and in a way that takes Vermont’s natural resources,viz.,mountains, forests, streams and wildlife seriously and as an endangered set of assets.

    The PSB has been the lapdog or rubber stamp, I cannot decide,of Big Energy for years and has yet to see a “green” project that it didn’t like. Where will Ms. Cheney settle in all of this? I suspect that I know but only time will tell.

  23. Angela Bennett :

    Why has no one brought up the International Paper Company factor?

  24. Annette Smith :

    Board Member Coen will stay on the PSB for the Addison County Gas Pipeline that is currently in technical hearings. The timing of the appointment may have been timed to assure that he is at least on for Phase I to Middlebury. His seat expired in February and it might have been awkward for a new board member who voted to ban fracking to have to approve a new gas pipeline carrying fracked fossil fuels.

    Because most of the issues would appear to be the same for Phase II to International Paper, it might make sense for Board Member Coen to stay on for Phase II to International Paper, also. But it is likely that the new board member will sit on Phase II. And then there’s Phase III.

    What is the International Paper Company factor aside from that?

  25. Bob Stannard :
    • Carl Werth :

      Yeah, it says it all – if all you are interested in is one side of the discussion.

    • Keith Stern :

      An extremely liberal rag covers for her. If a conservative source (if one exists in VT) told the other story would you site that as well?

  26. Bob Stannard :

    Why?

  27. Carl Werth :

    Why?

    More like why bother, right?

    Surely when you are satisfied to only hear one side of the story – then why bother even considering the other side.

    • Bob Stannard :

      No. I don’t agree with the anti-wind folks that’s all. So why would I post their stuff?

      • Carl Werth :

        Well, firstly, Bob, how do you define “anti-wind folks”?

        Are people who are good with IWTs but don’t want them on ridgelines “anti-wind folks” or are they “pro-wind folks” who don’t want IWTs on ridgelines?

        Secondly – the point I was making had nothing to do with anti or pro-wind – it was that the article you linked saying “This says it all” – did not, in fact, “say it all”.

      • Bob,

        Investors have decided that winds west of Chicago are much better than on ridge lines in New England.

        As a result, 90% of all US wind energy is generated west of Chicago.

        The reasons are: few people, low capital costs, low operating and maintenance costs, AND VERY GOOD WINDS that produce CF of 0.38 or better.

        This is definitely not the case in New England, which has high capital costs, high O&M costs, and fair-to-middling winds that produce, on average, CFs of about 0.25 or less.

        Building IWTs on New England ridge lines is like fitting a round peg into a square hole.

        Defending this crony-capitalism scheme, as some commentators in this comment string do, is beyond rational.

        There are better ways forward for Vermont.

        EE is one of them, and it should be done before RE.

      • Annette Smith :

        Whenever I see people who are pro wind and who “do not agree with the anti-wind folks” I do note that there are almost always financial connections. I recall Bob was a paid lobbyist for Endless Energy’s failed wind proposal on Little Equinox in Manchester. As they say, “follow the money”….

        Fortunately, Willem is right that there is little appetite for wind development in New England anymore. On a recent Bloomberg Energy Analyst conference call for solar and wind investors, the wind analyst said they expect very little new wind development in New England.

        Here are some notes from the call: Really difficult to site wind in New England, reading local newspaper stories it’s a very stark contrast to a lot of what you see in texas and the mid-west. In NE you look at Mass., the problems with the turbines in Falmouth, trying to turn them off, turn them down, the farming communities that love the revenues in the midwest typically aren’t that excited about them, aren’t scrapping, the revenue doesn’t make as much of a difference. They’re more exposed, on ridgelines where you can see them, as opposed to midwest. Developer in Maine has had every project appealed. Well documented it is difficult to build wind. Real real struggle. ISO transmission build to relieve congestion, that’s the case through NE as well, regions not proactive to deal with wind.

        • Bob Stannard :

          Annette is right. I did work for Endless Energy to replace wind turbines on the top of Little Equinox. There is already a road and a power line going 5 miles up the mountain. Yes, some work would’ve had to have been done on two hairpin turns so that they could get the turbines to the sight. And yes, there were people coming unglued at the prospect of disturbing 150′ of land that they’d never see.

          I worked on this project, because I one of many Vermonters who think that we need to move towards energy that doesn’t run the risk of killing us. Wind, industrial or otherwise is harmless.

          And yes, you can feel free to follow the money, Annette. I’m still owed a lot of money on this project and I don’t expect to ever see it. I didn’t make much at all. Not nearly as much as you’ve made opposing projects.

          Before the usual suspects show up here with their collective heads exploding, yes I am (was) a paid lobbyist and I did make money shutting down a nuclear power plant; one of my finest accomplishments.

          But shutting down VY isn’t enough. We have to stand for something and no, not everyone can or will go off the grid. Good luck convincing Stratton Mt. on that one.

          The first place we should look (and perhaps the only thing I’ve ever agree with Willem Post on) is energy efficiency and conservation. Even if we hit 100% we still need power from somewhere. We should be focusing on hydro dams here in Vermont, but rest assured that the first application that comes along, my old friend, Ms. Smith, will be right there capitalizing on it be riling up the neighbors trying to prove that the constant thump, thump, thump of water falling over a dam will make them sick.

        • John Greenberg :

          “Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced that developers of a 250-megawatt wind power plant in Maine and a 20-MW solar photovoltaic plant in Connecticut itself had signed long-term deals to provide electricity to Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating. Malloy said the price for the energy will average less than 8 cents per kilowatt-hour. ”
          http://entertainment.verizon.com/news/read/category/Technology/article/earth_tech-connecticut_green_energy_buy_comes_cheap-ncrd

  28. Angela Bennett :

    Who stands to benefit the most from running a gas line through Addison County?

  29. Carl Werth :

    “Woosh, woosh” “thump, thump” – I think the sound of fracked gas going through the pipeline makes a sound like “Cha-ching”.

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