We’re not disclosing names because of intimidation factors

Saint Albans Messenger: September 2, 2016

I am writing in response to an August 21, 2016 editorial regarding the initiative promoting wind power, Wind Works VT. The editorial takes aim at Wind Works VT for not disclosing its donors. It is important that Vermonters understand why Wind Works VT has chosen to respect the privacy of its funders. Many people may not be aware of the offensive and threatening behavior of some of the antirenewable activists who have targeted those in favor of wind power.

The pattern of offensive and threatening behavior by anti-renewable activists is disturbing.

In the past year alone we have seen a number of alarming incidents occur. In October 2015, an anti-Semitic voicemail threatening the life of a developer was left by an anonymous caller. In November 2015, a severed deer head was left on a developer’s porch. In May 2016, a threatening note was sent to a Select Board Chair, who then resigned his position. And since Wind Works VT was initiated a month ago, we have seen daily incidents of offensive social media postings and have received an email stating that we should be hanged.

This is disgusting behavior that should not be tolerated anywhere but seems particularly offensive in Vermont where we take such pride in our sense of close-knit community. With these incidents as a backdrop it should come as no surprise that some of the developers and individuals funding Wind Works VT would like to keep their identities private.

Frustration around the fact that we are not disclosing all of our donors is understandable but the reasons behind that decision are critical for Vermonters to understand. We are not willing to put the safety of Vermonters or any individual working to develop a wind project in Vermont at risk.

We have made no secret of the fact that there are wind developers who are funding this initiative. We have also been clear that the other funders are Vermonters who recognize that wind is a critical energy source in the fight against climate change, will increase our energy independence from foreign fossil fuels, and is key to meeting our state’s energy goal of 90 percent renewable by 2050.

While we have been clear about the fact that Wind Works VT is funded by wind developers and Vermont environmentalists, two anti-renewable organizations, Vermonters for a Clean Environment and Energize Vermont, have not disclosed any information about their funders. We hope that members of the media begin to ask the question we have been asking for some time: who are their funders and why won’t they disclose them?

Intimidation is not a tactic worthy of Vermonters. As members of a relatively small community, we should be able to agree to disagree with respect and civility. When the intimidation tactics deployed by some of those who are against renewable energy end and we are assured that the funders will not be harassed and threatened, Wind Works VT will happily make it’s donor list public.

Kyle Martel is the spokesperson for Wind Works VT and an associate a KSE Partners

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