Daniel Towler

Vermont papers over dirty energy use


Vermont's electric utilities claim that their power comes from 100% "carbon-free" sources. This claim bears closer inspection. Since the closing of Vermont's only nuclear plant in 2014, it is true that virtually 100% of the electricity generated in Vermont comes from so-called renewable sources. This includes the burning of wood waste, which, while renewable, is obviously not emissions-free.

Vermont has zero coal, oil, or gas-fired electric generating stations. However, more than half of the electricity used in Vermont comes from out of state, including a significant portion from the 81 oil- and natural-gas-fueled plants in the other five New England states. A significant portion also comes from nuclear plants in other states.

But, the largest portion of out-of-state power used in Vermont comes from Hydro-Québec, a network of dams that flooded 3.8 million acres of forest in northern Québec beginning in the 1970s.

Vermont is the only state in New England that allows so-called "large hydro" to be included in its "renewable" energy portfolio. This is critical because Vermont has a Renewable Energy Standard (RES) adopted in 2015 which calls for electricity used in-state to be 75% from "renewable' sources by 2032.

Read More

Balanced budget burden should not fall on meal program recipients

I appreciate The Commons reporting on recent proposed cuts to senior meal programs in Windham County. I am one of dozens of volunteer drivers who get mid-day meals out to seniors in the more rural areas of our county. I deliver to clients in Townshend, Brookline, and Newfane. The...

Read More

You give rights to a fetus, you take them away from the mother

Anyone who describes abortion as “killing unborn children” is not likely to be swayed by argument. Nevertheless, I must respond to Erica Walch. There is obviously no compelling state interest in killing unborn children, to answer the question posed in the headline. What there is a compelling state interest...

Read More


The politicians are the ones who are inflaming people irrationally

Unlike a letter writer in your Aug. 12 issue, I had no problem whatsoever with the semantics or the emphasis in MacLean Gander's essay about COVID-19. As he says, although we here in Vermont are in better shape than most other states, the virus does not respect borders and this is no time to relax our vigilance. The thing we have to fear with this virus is people not taking it seriously enough, rather than taking it too seriously. The...

Read More