U.S. Energy Secretary speaks at Middlebury College

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, seated between Sens. Patrick Leahy, left, and Bernie Sanders, answers a question about the use of natural gas during the Sustainable Energy Summit held at Middlebury College on Friday, May 16, 2014. Independent photo/Trent Campbell

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, seated between Sens. Patrick Leahy, left, and Bernie Sanders, answers a question about the use of natural gas during the Sustainable Energy Summit held at Middlebury College on Friday. Independent photo/Trent Campbell


Editor’s note: This article is by Zach Desparts of the Addison Independent, in which it was first published May 19, 2014.

MIDDLEBURY — The U.S. Secretary of Energy praised Vermont’s efforts in renewable energy development and defended the expansion of natural gas use at a panel at Middlebury College Friday morning.

Secretary Ernest Moniz was flanked by the state’s congressional delegation and Gov. Peter Shumlin, as well as state business and academic leaders.

“I didn’t come here not already recognizing the innovation that’s been displayed in Vermont,” Moniz told the standing-room-only crowd at the college’s McCullough Student Center.

Shumlin and the delegation praised Moniz, a theoretical physicist and longtime professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for his public service. Moniz previously served in several science-related capacities in the Clinton administration, culminating in a post as the Under Secretary of Energy from 1997-2001.

Leahy, the state’s affable senior senator, said that Moniz is tasked with overseeing the most complex area of federal policy and jurisdiction.

“When you became secretary, I didn’t know whether to offer you congratulations or condolences,” Leahy joked.

Leahy also urged the secretary to push for more funding for methane digesters, which harness the gas emitted by cow manure and turn it into energy.

Rep. Peter Welch listed numerous ways Vermonters are embracing and encouraging use of clean energy, including Green Mountain Power’s introduction of net metering, the construction of a biomass plant at Middlebury College and the expansion of solar panels at homes, schools and businesses across the state. Welch said that Moniz is instrumental for Vermont and the nation to continue that progress.

“I’m proud to introduce one of the key drivers of this mission,” Welch said of Moniz. “With the secretary’s help, we’re going to do more of what we’re doing well.”

Shumlin praised the public service Moniz has performed as an official in both the Clinton and Obama administrations.

“He is one of the most forward-thinking energy secretaries America has ever seen, because he gets climate change and gets what we have to do to get there,” Shumlin said.

Shumlin also chided that Moniz was the only cabinet official that “looked like a true Vermonter,” an undoubted reference to the secretary’s shoulder-length hair.

Moniz took the jab in good taste, and confided to the audience that his ’do had drawn comparisons to Javier Bardem’s character in “No Country for Old Men.”

In his remarks, the secretary stressed that climate change is a serious issue that Americans must confront immediately. He made reference to the National Climate Assessment, a White House report released last week that posited that the United States is already feeling the effects of climate change, which will only grow more severe in the future.

Moniz noted that the report came shortly after similar reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a project of the United Nations.

“They’ve all reinforced the story that many of us, probably most of us in the room, have been talking about for a long period,” Moniz told the crowd. “We need to mitigate the effects of climate change and need to adapt at the same time.”

Moniz warned that the longer humans wait to address climate change, the more difficult and expensive it will be to do so. He listed a litany of ways the climate has already changed: an increase in global temperatures by one degree Celsius over the last decade, increased precipitation in the Northeast, higher storm surges and increased temperatures across the country.

The secretary said that Vermont and the Department of Energy have had a strong relationship, and that the state is on the right track when it comes to making investments in the energy of the future.

Moniz made reference to a scene from another film, this time the 1967 hit “The Graduate,” where an overbearing family friend tells the recent graduate Benjamin Braddock that the next growth industry is plastics. Moniz said that today, the new emerging industry is in renewable energy.

“I would do a re-run of that scene with two words: clean energy.”

MONIZ DEFENDS PIPELINE

The event began 15 minutes later than its advertised 10 o’clock start, and Sanders opened the question and answer session with the understanding that it would be brief.

In what was a surprise to no one that follows the news in Addison County, the proposed Vermont Gas Systems pipeline through the Champlain Valley was brought up for discussion.

R.J. Adler, a Middlebury graduate who now works in the solar industry in Vermont, asked the panel how Vermont straddles the divide between promoting renewable energy while supporting the expansion of natural gas, a fossil fuel.

Moniz said that the Department of Energy, much like Vermont, has embraced a strategy of promoting energy sources that are less carbon-intensive than burning coal.

“Our strategy is called ‘All of the above;’ we start with the statement to go to low carbon,” Moniz said. “With that condition, we are investing across the board in what can be technologies to advance low carbon.”

According to Environmental Protection Agency estimates, burning natural gas produces 50 percent less carbon dioxide than burning coal. Moniz said that by reducing its use of coal as an energy source by shifting to natural gas, the United States has decreased its emissions.

“We are roughly halfway to the president’s 17 percent (greenhouse gas emissions) reduction goal by 2020, and half of that has been gas substituted by coal,” Moniz said.

Moniz hinted that natural gas, which does emit harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, would become a smaller part of the nation’s energy portfolio as the use of renewable energy sources increases.

“We see gas as a bridge, in some parts of the country, and an important one,” Moniz said.

He said that natural gas, as a cheaper energy source, also is good for business.

“Today, gas is contributing to a substantial manufacturing revival,” Moniz said, adding that as a result of the expansion of natural gas, the country has seen a $100 billion investment in new manufacturing.

Large manufacturers in Addison and Rutland counties, such as Agri-Mark, Otter Creek Brewing and Omya have said they will save substantially on energy costs by switching to natural gas.

A group of activists, who later said they were mostly Middlebury College students, briefly interrupted the question and answer session by shouting for Gov. Shumlin to oppose the pipeline. They wore orange armbands with a variety of anti-pipeline slogans.

Rebecca Foster of Charlotte, an outspoken pipeline opponent who has penned letters to state media organizations, was the last to speak.

“How can you stand and be proud of being from a green state when we are proposing to make a natural gas, fracked pipeline to International Paper, that will make us just as regressive as all the other states in the country?” Foster asked of the panel. “If you’re concerned with reducing greenhouse gases, you should be speaking out against the pipeline.”

The question, like the other about the Vermont Gas pipeline project, drew applause from many in the crowd.

“I think the state has the capability of answering that question,” Sanders said, and brought the event to a close.

The other panelists included Green Mountain Power CEO Mary Powell, Middlebury College Director of Sustainability Integration Jack Berne, University of Vermont engineering professor Paul Hines, Vermont Energy Investment Corp. Executive Director Scott Johnstone and Waterbury energy expert Jamison Ervin.

Comments

  1. Kathy Nelson :

    “I think the state has the capability of answering that question,” Sanders said, and brought the event to a close.”

    Sounds like a line from Orwell’s “1984.

    From a letter dated 15 May 2014 from Nextera Energy (wind developer out of Canada that has been wreaking havoc in Ontario, CA) to all NEPOOL REC sellers; subject – Vermont SPEED Program and Renewable Energy Credit Purchases:

    “As of January 1, 2014, the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) will no longer accept megawatt hours of electricity from a renewable energy source that are claimed or counted by a load-serving entity, province, or state toward compliance with RPS or renewable energy policy goals in another province or state, such as Vermont SPEED, as compliant with the PURA RPS standards (S.B.No. 1138. Public Act No. 13-303
    (Conn, 2013). NEPM’s position is that the energy associated with such RECs is counted twice in breach of the Seller’s warranties found in NEPM’s standard REC agreement requiring Seller to (i) transfer good titile to all RECs, (ii) comply with the RPS technical specifications, and (iii) tender RECs free from all liens, claims, security interest, encumbrances and/or defects in title.”

    Yeah, Bernie, let’s hear the state’s (VT’s) answer to that one.

    • Richard Ratico :

      Nextera Energy is behind a push for more dangerous nukes. Plain & simple. Please come clean, Kathy.

      • Kathy Nelson :

        Richard, you’re commenting on the wrong story. When you finish your cocktails with Bob then click here:

        http://vtdigger.org/2014/05/19/legacy-americas-nuclear-power-plants-spent-fuel-place-put/

        I did make one mistake in my comment, Nexterror isn’t from Canada, they’re based in Florida. They’ve done a lot of damage in Ontario, just like Gaz Metro out of Quebec has made wreckage here in VT.

      • John Greenberg :

        NextEra Energy owns Seabrook.

        • Kathy Nelson :

          Point? Green Mountain Power in VT buys power from Seabrook. You’re probably using some of that power right now.
          This story is about the misuse of RECs in VT. Nextera has brought that to the front. Does that make Nextera the bad guy, the good guy, or just a bunch of corporate thugs who don’t want to get sued?

          • John Greenberg :

            The point is that your characterization of Nextera as “wind developer out of Canada that has been wreaking havoc in Ontario, CA” is partial and misleading.

        • Kathy Nelson :

          As usual, John, you only read or see what you want to see. I corrected my mistake by saying that Nextera was not Canadian owned but based in Florida. There is nothing “partial or misleading” about the mayhem perpetrated by Nextera in Ontario:

          http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/tag/nextera/

          Why is it so hard for you to do your own research?

          • John Greenberg :

            Kathy,
            Your correction concerned the LOCATION of the company, not its business. Specifically, you failed to correct the impression that the company is just a “wind developer.” So I pointed out that the company also owns nukes. Since you are an avid lover of nuclear power and an equally avid opponent of wind power, your omission struck me as relevant. Others can decide for themselves.

            What research is it that you think I’ve failed to do?

      • Rob Pforzheimer :

        Nexterror (formerly Florida Power & Light, FPL) is also the largest wind developer in North America. They have killed thousands of birds, including eagles, osprey and owls in California, and other states, and have cut down active eagles nests in Ontario and Minnesota. NEXTERROR CUTS DOWN EAGLES NEST IN ONTARIO http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtF6TUYfj8c

        On earnings of $7 billion they paid no taxes, largely because of the tax credits for their wind turbines. They are perfectly willing to game the system, but don’t want to be involved with Vt’s fraudulent REC sales.

        Vt’ers hold onto your wallets when your electric bills go up.

  2. Alexandra Thayer :

    Sadly, last Friday Middlebury College demonstrated that the 1st Amendment has no place on campus. The public was invited to the Vermont Sustainability Summit and were addressed by Vermont’s senators, Congressman and governor. However, the Middlebury College Dept of Public Safety and its director took hostile action against a a man who held up a sign expressing his opposition to a natural gas pipeline proposed (Stop the FRAKKED GAS PIPELINE). (I later learned he is a father, a Middlebury grad, & the pipeline would cross his property and carry fracked gas).
    The man carried it down the center aisle and then to the right, holding it high, silently, as Rebecca Foster asked the last question of the day, also about fracked gas & the pipeline. (No answer was provided to HER questions.)

    Then the meeting was over. But Elizabeth Burchard, Middlebury College Director of Public Safety with the assistance of a plainclothes law enforcement officer in a suit decided to exert her power against the sign-carrying father, threatening him with arrest or a no trespass order if he didn’t immediately leave.

    I was a floor lower than the main hall where this person had held up the sign. As I was leaving, I became aware of Public Safety Director’s threatening conduct toward this man, who was protesting. I confronted her, demanding to know what she was doing; she said, “This is private property” and referenced the college’s civility code. A reminder that Middlebury’s civility code doesn’t trump the 1st amendment of the US Constitution did not change her position. She said the man’s holding up the sign could disturb speech. I then held the sign up high and asked “how?” She said it could upset security people. I told her that if that were the case, there was a training problem as all law enforcement should be educated about constitutional rights. She insisted again that “This is private property.”

    Facing angry, concerned citizens who had come to the public Sustainability Summit, Middlebury College Director of Public Safety Elizabeth Burchard allowed the father to leave without further ado, along with everyone else who had attended the Summit. But my heart was broken to see this fine, fine educational institution, which has been such an amazing, wonderful leader in energy sustainability on its campus, demonstrate that its important executives, like Director of Public Safety Elizabeth Burchard do not have a similar respect for and commitment to the 1st Amendment or to supporting citizens’ rights to petition government representatives.

    My husband and I traveled 160 miles round-trip to Middlebury College in appreciation of the work done by our Congressional delegation and Vermont’s governor in support of their commitment to renewable energy. We returned disheartened that the climate at Middlebury College does not include honoring dissent or respect for people who are asking important, challenging questions about approaches being considered, and does not include sustaining the 1st Amendment.

    Our Congressional delegation needs to speak up on behalf of citizens expressing differing opinions peacefully, as strongly and persistently as they speak up to demand a vibrant response to the challenges that climate change is presenting us all.

    • Judith Sargent :

      Congrats Alex for standing up to the Security types and defending the citizen who held up a sign about the gas pipeline planned for western Vermont. And thanks for defending all of our rights to freedom of speech. Thanks for making it clear a peaceful guy who was merely trying to hold up a sign at a public gathering on alternative energy was not preventing anyone from hearing anything.

  3. Kathy Nelson :

    Maybe Bernie, Leahy, Welch and Moniz should read this:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterferrara/2014/05/18/president-obamas-global-warming-calculated-deception-means-democrats-have-abandoned-working-people/

    Shame on Middlebury college for their treatment of concerned citizens. I only wish it were possible for our DC delegation and our ethically challenged governor to feel shame for all the harm they have done to the people of Vermont.

    • Alice Soininen :

      My only wish is that ALL opinions were respected. Ms Nelson is obnoxiously outspoken and extremely mean-spirited when those with opinions differing from hers have a chance to politely and publicly voice theirs. Such actions serve to pit neighbors against neighbors who otherwise respect differing opinions.

      • Kathy Nelson :

        Alice, when it comes to pitting neighbor against neighbor then no one does that better than your obnoxious son, John Soininen (VP of Eolian Renewable Energy, AKA Seneca Mountain Wind). The cruel lies perpetrated by John Soininen has brought about social upset that will linger in the Northeast Kingdom for a generation.
        I also think it was cruel and mean spirited for the Soininen family to appear at the PSB Sound/Noise Hearing at the People’s Academy in Morrisville to not only belittle those who are suffering but further their own financial interests in soaking the public for subsidies for junk wind energy projects.

      • Kathy Nelson :

        John Soininen is one of the wannabe wind developers desperate to get a project in Ferdinand, VT.
        Below is a letter his mother wrote to the Rutland Herald in 2005 when the Sheffield project was proposed near her home in Sutton.
        I guess she’s changed her mind again now that her obnoxious son wants to be a wind developer.

        http://www.rutlandherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051009/NEWS/510090336/1030
        Wind proponent changes her mind
        October 09,2005

        October is one of the most beautiful months of the year. Some would argue that it is the most beautiful month of the year in Vermont. I find it curiously ironic that our governor would name it Wind Energy Month.

        Originally a proponent of wind energy — as I am a proponent of renewal energy — I am now totally opposed. I have seen the wind farms in California and in Denmark. Those turbines are atop towers that are significantly shorter than the 400-foot ones proposed for our area. The area along Interstate 10 on the way to Palm Springs is a barren wasteland (at least in the view of a Vermonter). The hundreds of small wind turbines are nestled in the valley between two (beautiful) mountain ranges. They spin gracefully — mostly in the same direction — and are seen only by persons speeding along the highway as there are no residents within their sightline.

        Conversely, I have to say that, in my opinion, the turbines, albeit small, are a blight on the beautiful, lush, green Danish landscape. In Sweden, I have only seen single towers on industrial complexes built to supplement electrical needs.

        More than 30 years ago, Sen. George Aiken declared our corner of the state the Northeast Kingdom. The name stuck for obvious reasons. Locally and afar, one can see and understand the Northeast Kingdom sticker on cars. The Northeast Kingdom is a special place.

        Yes, the Northeast Kingdom is a federally designated impoverished area. A major contributor to the economy of the area is tourism, but we do not attract the shop-until-you-drop, set. We are the home to and destination of those seeking the beauty, solitude and abundant wildlife of the area. Be we residents or visitors, we respect and honor the land. We are typically conservative in our use of energy. We work to “leave no trace” when we walk, hunt or snowmobile in the woods.

        The Northeast Kingdom is a target for gigantic wind towers — not quaint picturesque windmills seen on the postcards one finds in the Netherlands. Four acres have to be clear-cut and blasted to accommodate each tower. The towers, their gigantic blades, flickering lights and shadows and whining turbines will rise high above our ridgelines.

        A condition for my original support of wind energy was that the electricity generated stay in our (immediate) area. In Vermont, it is the (powerful) PSB that makes the ultimate decision. A significant consideration in its go/no-go decision is its benefit to the people of the state. We are only a small portion of the state — population-wise. Why should we have to sacrifice to supply electricity for those not very much interested in conserving?

        Maybe we should think about a 51st state: the Northeast Kingdom.

        Alice H. Soininen

        Sutton

        • Alice Soininen :

          The letter referenced by Ms Nelson (above)was written when I was the CFO and Director of Support Services at the King George School. At that time we bought into the negative propaganda served up by the Brouhas (who perceive that they have much to lose given their proximity to the Sheffield turbines and the assumed loss of property value). We totally reversed our opinion of renewals after much research and viewing Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth. Yes, John Soininen is our son but we were pro-wind long before he became involved in the wind industry. We have nothing to gain. John has a graduate degree from MIT and could easily fine employment with that and his engineering undergraduate degree. The prolem is that he passionately believes that the damage that coal generated electricity is the single-most contributor to global warming. And we have seen the damage to flora and fauna in the US (especially in the mountains of the Carolinas) and SE Asia. There (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam), where the economy is completely dependent upon agriculture, the impact of climate change is alarming. I do feel badly for those living close enough to have their lives negatively impacted. Relocation is hard but has been a ‘fact of life’ with the eminent domain required for the building of the Interstate highways in the last half-century. (There the government determined the value, not the property owner.) I commend the PSB for hosting a meeting for ALL opinions to be respectfully heard. The members of the PSB are between a rock and a hard place and are doing their best to hear and understand all related issues. I still believe that if the NEK produces the electricity with wind or solar, we, in the area should have electric rates to reflect that contribution. The Burlington area probably has as much, if not more wind as any area in VT, and certainly consumes a greater amount. That area should share in the production and/or pay more. And, FYI, I have always been opposed to the Recs. Simplistically speaking, huge fines should be imposed for the production of ‘dirty’ energy. There is no such thing as ‘clean coal’. Further, everyone should work to limit consumption.

          • Mark Whitworth :

            Yes, Alice. We must close all of Vermont’s coal-fired plants immediately.

        • Kathy Nelson :

          Mark, if we close all the coal plants then how is big Democratic campaign donator, Tom Steyer, going to get his money to buy his politicians? Coal is his money maker.

          Alice says her neighbor, Paul Brouha, offered “negative propaganda” about industrial wind but the truth is that everything Brouha told her about the problems with industrial wind has come true. Alice is inconstant with her opinions, as well as her facts, and I am glad her son’s wind disaster project in the NEK has failed.

          • Paul Lorenzini :

            Mark, that was funny!

            not as funny as the other side, a different kind of funny.

            They.

  4. While not cited by the Addison Independent in the article above, the Rutland Herald did report that at the same Middlebury energy summit Gov. Shumlin said:

    “Energy efficiencies last year in the state managed to reduce the state’s energy consumption by 13%.”

    If this statement were true it would be an incredibly remarkable achievement. The problem is that the Governor’s statement as cited is simply not true.

    There was no 13% decrease in Vermont’s energy consumption last year. The Governor’s comment is just another instance of him playing loosely with numbers to promote himself and his agenda.

    When the Governor mangles and exaggerates the facts related to renewable and energy efficiency accomplishments it becomes impossible to believe anything he has to say. This is extremely critical in that there continues to exist significant controversy with the state’s energy strategy, its impact on individuals and communities and what it actually accomplishes.

    What’s just as troubling is the Herald reporter’s and his editor’s failure to question such an incredible pronouncement from the Governor. The comment was simply taken at face value and put in the paper.

    In Rutland, we seem to have a lap dog versus a much needed watch dog press. This may be good for the Governor, but its bad for the people.

    • John Greenberg :

      Peter Yankowski,

      “There was no 13% decrease in Vermont’s energy consumption last year. ” Please provide the correct figures and your source for them.

      • John Greenberg:

        You’ll have to get those figures from the Governor, he’s the one who claimed the 13% reduction in the state’s energy consumption in 2013.

        There are no such figures on the Department of Public Service’s web site or any where else to back up the Governor’s claim as far as I can see.

        John, even you have to admit that claiming a 13% reduction in the state’s energy consumption is really pretty outrageous.

        If you can find something to support the Gov’s claim, please share it with everyone.

        • John Greenberg :

          Peter,

          You accuse the governor of saying something that “simply isn’t true,” but when asked for the factual basis for your accusation, now say: “There are no such figures on the Department of Public Service’s web site or any where else to back up the Governor’s claim as far as I can see.”

          In other words, you haven’t got a clue whether the governor is right or wrong, but are unembarrassed to accuse him of lying.

          Even for you, Peter, that’s a new low.

          Before you try to drag me into this, I am NOT defending the governor’s remark. I have no idea what the correct figures are, and like you apparently, I have no inclination to do the research to find them out.

          It’s clear now that you have no basis for your remarks. It remains to be seen whether the governor had or did not have some basis for his.

          • John:

            I didn’t drag you into anything.

            You willingly jumped in head first in a foolhardy attempt to defend yet another “Ready, Fire, Aim” moment by the Governor.

            Will you ever learn?

          • John Greenberg :

            Peter,

            Exactly how do you conclude that I was making an attempt — “foolhardy” or otherwise — to defend the governor?

            I asked you to provide a source. You couldn’t. I then explicitly stated that I am NOT defending the governor or his statement.

            You ASSUME that I am defending the governor, because you ASSUME that you know my political views, just as you ASSUME that you know what you clearly do NOT know about energy usage in Vermont.

            There’s a pattern there.

      • Cairn Cross :

        My bet is that the Governor’s quote (as reported above – I have not read the actual quote and can not report on the veracity) was formed based on the information provided on the website below.

        https://www.efficiencyvermont.com/About-Us

        Drop below the fold to see the 13% figure.

        I have no opinion on whether the information is correct but simply posit that this might be the source.

        You gentlemen might like the following website to help you figure things out:

        http://lmgtfy.com/

        • Cairn:

          It’s also my guess that the Governor may have gotten his thinking from Efficiency Vermont (EV) as there is no other reference to this topic to be found that supports his statement on reduced energy consumption in 2013. However, the problem is that the EV report does not support the Governor’s assertion of:

          “Energy efficiencies last year in the state managed to reduce the state’s energy consumption by 13%.”

          Before posting my comment on the Governor’s statement regarding the state reducing its energy consumption by 13% in 2013, I first called EV for clarification of exactly what its report entailed and meant.

          According to an EV spokesperson, it’s report relates only to electric supply needs being reduced by 13.1% as a result of energy efficiency efforts dating back to EV’s operational inception in 2000. The 13.1% reduction cited was not a change from 2012 to 2013, but a cumulative change over a several year period.

          Additionally and critically important in this instance, the EV spokesperson indicated that its report has nothing to do with total energy consumption and gives no consideration to trends in the state’s consumption of heating oil, natural gas, gasoline or other fuels. The Governor cited “energy” reduction, which would include all sources of energy. He did not say reductions in electricity.

          The EV report does not support the Governor’s statement made in Middlebury. Based on an absence of data to support his comments, one can only conclude that the Governor misrepresented the known facts. He did this either unknowingly or deliberately. In either case it reflects poorly on his credibility when speaking to energy issues. What is the general public to believe when this Governor speaks?

          The Governor’s comment is significant in that it grossly misstates the reduction of energy consumption in Vermont during a time when broad controversy surrounds the state’s Comprehensive Energy Plan. A plan heavily promoted by the Governor with an objective of reducing traditional or fossil fuel energy consumption.

          If anyone can provide empirical data supporting the governor’s statement, please share it with us. Evidence from the 5th floor would be particularly welcomed.

          • Cairn Cross :

            Peter I happen to agree with your analysis of how the comment came to be and my comment which was meant to be humorous was more directed at the exchange between you and Mr. Greenberg hence my reference to “let me Google that for you.” Your thorough answer to my comment might have made a good starting comment and kept the “prove it” back and forth from happening which I find to be a tiresome part of social media. The point of whether efficiency is a “reduction” is a subtle one. Overall consumption can go up but efficiency measures can offset what would have otherwise been a larger increase. It takes careful analysis of many facts in a longitudinal fashion to understand what has happened. The sound bite in the quote did not provide that kind of detailed information as you point out.

        • John:

          There is indeed a pattern here and the people of Vermont have caught on to the Governor’s practice of playing fast and loose with the facts. The energy reduction comment fiasco is just the latest episode in this sad soap opera.

          For confirmation read the Governor’s flagging polls numbers.

          In the meantime, check to see if there is any water in the pool before you dive in head first.

          • Cairn:

            Your humor is welcomed as part of the mud wrestling process with John Greenberg. You can be assured that if I say white, John will say black and so on, which if you find tiresome is fully understandable. But I can’t help myself when it is so easy to push John’s buttons.

            Not stating the Efficiency Vermont information up front allowed me to draw John into an argument he couldn’t win and there in lies the fun. Maybe I need a senior day care center or something to more constructively channel my energy. (Attempt at humor)

            One last point, I find nothing subtle about the Governor’s comment on energy reduction. Saying that Vermont reduced energy consumption by an incredible 13% in one year is not subtle, it’s sad, yet laughable and needs to be called out, which I did.

          • John Greenberg :

            “I can’t help myself when it is so easy to push John’s buttons.”

            You’re right Peter, it is. All you’ve got to do is lie.

    • Peter,

      Some years ago, he also said, before being appointed Governor by the Legislature (he did not have enough popular votes, but enough party votes), that Germany was getting 30 % of its electrical energy from PV solar, whereas, at that time it was about 2-3 %, and now, some years later, it is about 5 %.

      The only way a 13% reduction in energy consumption can occur, if there were a sudden, massive depression, or if about 15 percent of the VT population decided to move out of state in early 2013.

      Last year was 2013 and the 2013-2014 heating season was colder than usual.

      Shumlin is a multi-millionaire, real estate operator. He knows next to nothing about energy, but pontificates/spouts nonsense just the same.

      It must be another election year.

      • Willem:

        A couple of years ago on national TV, Mr. Shumlin made the same or a very similar comment about solar use in Europe.

        Shumlin was called out on his statement by the program’s anchor (on live TV) who said he believed that Shumlin was incorrect. Shumlin steadfastly held his ground.

        In the meantime, the show’s producer quickly looked into the issue on the internet and corrected Shumlin on the spot by saying his comment on solar was off by a factor of 10X.

        Not being about to admitted he was wrong, Shumlin went on to say…..well that’s what I had been told.

        Bottom line, it would be good if the Vermont media were as alert at calling out Governor when he makes obviously incorrect statements, especially when they are intended to advance his agenda.

        • Here’s a link to a November 2010 vtdigger article that provides a copy of the video of then Senator Shumlin mistakenly stating that 30% of Germany’s energy was coming from solar.

          http://www.vtdigger.org/2010/11/14/how-a-political-smear-went -viral.

          The Shumlin’s squirming in this video reminds me of the first day of fishing season looking into a can of squirming nightcrawlers about to be placed on a hook.

          Parental guidance warming: this video may be upsetting to consumer’s of Shumlin kool-aid.

          • John Greenberg :

            Thank you Peter, for providing actual facts and documentation for your attacks on Governor Shumlin.

            That’s really all I’ve been trying to get you to do for months now.

          • John:

            With the long ago passing of the Lone Ranger its good to see that someone is still looking out for: “Truth, Justice and the American Way”.

            Here’s a lead for you as you continue your important work.

            Go to the March 17, 2010 issue of Seven Days. There you will find a survey of Montpelier insiders who by a large margin cited Peter Shumlin as the most ethically challenged individual in the Vermont legislature.

            You probably want to get in your Prius and drive to Montpelier and keep the 5th floor under surveillance for any evidence of outrageous statements being made sans supporting facts.

            Up, Up and Away…..cue the William Tell Overture.

  5. Paul Lorenzini :

    How is all this making VT more affordable? For the wealthy only?

  6. Paul Lorenzini :

    Hey Mr. Pete, I get Climate Change too. And Global Warming. And Agenda 21. They are all a scam of the globalists. There are more people on this planet then globalists, yup, that’s right, globalists are not people, they are the ultimate capitalists, and the opposite of equality, and freedom. Take the Earth while you can, never let a disaster go to waste, or create a disaster, and utilize the opportunity, that is the theory of they, not the theory of we, the people, and natural selection. Soft tyranny, Agenda 21, The Green movement, I had on of those once, and it freaked me out, too much green beer. lol.

  7. When I asked Patrick Leahy for help after the Town of Monkton tried to take my Century farm without telling me, a woman land co-owner after we paid Vermont property taxes 9 months late, He was silent. When elders and other vulnerable and poorly resourced landowners of Monkton, Vermont were harassed by Land agents sent by the pipeline wanters, I heard no outrage, no injuctions, no recourse. When Canadians aquired much of Vermont’s power and now Gas business, leaving local names like Green Mtn Power, VT Gas, there is a monopoly. Seems like the politician leaders prefer to hear from big corporations who donate to their campaigns. Where was Bill McKibben yesterday? Why doesn’t the pipeline go through Ripton? Why is the pipeline being promoted without environmental permits and easements settled? Was this a Blessing by the Big Government? Has Moniz ever seen Lake Champlain? Smelled International Paper exhaust? Does Moniz understand sludge beds left by the past paper mill sins are likely to pollute the whole Lake once they bore through it with there Gas line?

  8. Jane Palmer :

    Secretary Moniz said,“We are roughly halfway to the president’s 17 percent (greenhouse gas emissions) reduction goal by 2020, and half of that has been gas substituted by coal.”
    Does the Secretary know that Vermont does not acquire any of it’s electricity from coal burning facilities? Does he know that less than 12% of the entire population of this state is currently addicted to methane? I would have liked to ask him why we would want to hook more users up to burn more fossil fuel when our governor and even the president says we need to get off of it..just to hear him say it again… how building more expensive and environmentally devastating fossil fuel infrastructure will help us burn less fossil fuel. I waited for the panel to bring up the pipeline, knowing full well they wouldn’t and when I raised my hand to ask a question, I was blatantly ignored. Could it be because I had my red “Stop the Fracked Gas Pipeline” T-shirt on?

    I am glad two of the few allowed questions pertained to the pipeline, but I am also dismayed that people were not allowed to weigh in on subjects that are obviously important to them. This was a photo opp and a staged performance where our public officials got to puff themselves up and pat each other on the backs for the great job they are doing, while we (who have put them into office) were told to sit in our seats and not interrupt with signs or statements about issues that are at the crux of what they were supposedly talking about.

    I believe University of Vermont engineering professor Paul Hines had it right when he said that those that deny climate change are doing so out of fear. Well, I think that I am safe in saying we are all afraid of something. For many of us, it is what our elected officials are allowing to happen to our world.

    I have said it before and I will say it again; If the people are not being heard, their voices will get louder.

  9. For an in-depth discussion of the “true accounting” of the VGS pipeline extension, see this episode of NOFA-VT’s Policy Update:
    http://bit.ly/NOFAVTPolicyUpdateVGS

  10. Hattie Nestel :

    Mary, good point. WHERE was BILL McKIBBEN?
    He sure knows how to speak out and organize against theipeline when he’s I D.C. And at other colleges?
    When he is in residence at Middlebiry, there is no so sign of him and his well organized 350.org students???
    Something here does not compute!!!
    Hattie Nestel from the Shut it Down affinity group he’ll bent on shutting down Vermont Yankee

  11. Paul Lorenzini :

    Middlebury is his bought haven, he bought it and he will protect it, and the fools that lick his toes, 350.org, will do his bidding, and even flog themselves, in the name of McKibbens words. True or False?

Comments

*

Comment policy Privacy policy
Thanks for reporting an error with the story, "U.S. Energy Secretary speaks at Middlebury College"