Big bad Vt. Yankee will keep us warm

So far, the best ideas for coping with the high cost of fuel oil that our states political leaders can come up with are: Beg Washington for more help Burn green wood Home canning of vegetables Say what? These are serious suggestions. So it comes to this. Getting through the winter on energy banks, firewood that wont burn until next year, and home canning of vegetables. The state is, of course, still hoping that Washington will come through with a few million for heating oil and there is always the charity of some South American strongman who has oil and enjoys rubbing it in Gringos faces. Nobody seems to have any better ideas, though two of the most powerful players in Montpelier say they are confident that somehow the state will find concrete and innovative solutions to help working Vermonters confront this crisis. Rep. Tony Klein (D-East Montpelier), chairman of House Natural Resources and Energy Committee and Rep. Martha Heath (D-Westford), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee assure us that, in the meantime, we won't stop working for you. Which is awfully big of them. Meanwhile, here is an idea, call it the Tiger Plan. It uses a resource that is abundant in Vermont electricity and requires only a little creative financing. The technology exists and will likely get better and there is even a community out in the plains where a version of this plan is working. The main obstacle to this plan is: the Zeitgeist of Vermont which looks upon electricity about as favorably as it does mustard gas. Especially if that electricity is generated at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. But right now, that is the electricity that weve got. It is cheap and it is reliable and it could be used to keep Vermonters warm this winter. That, of course, is an ambitious goal and may be unattainable. The seasons change a lot faster than political opinion in Vermont and surely there will be voices saying that it couldnt be done in time. The same voices, it might be pointed out, that were arguing last winter, when there was time, for legislative measures that would have punished Vermont Yankee for its many sins and, perhaps, put it out of business. Meanwhile, as long as our leaders have assured us that they are still hanging in there and working for us, maybe they could get started on this. Home canning vegetables and burning green wood is going to get real old, real quick. Art Woolf, Vermont Tiger.com

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