3-10-15 – Does Michigan Spoil Their Foliage With Windmills?

Posted by Rob Roper

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article titled “Charm Offensive? Vermont Sees States IMG_0743Targeting Its Quaint Image.” The gist of the piece discusses marketing campaigns by other states from Massachusetts to Arizona that are actively going after Vermont’s tourists. Competition.

One line quoted was strikingly pointed: “Who needs Vermont? Ski the Berkshires.” It’s a good question. Who “needs” us? Answer: nobody needs us. Vermont provides a product/service, and so long as we do so with quality and value we people will want us. If we stop providing quality and value, well, it’s off to the Berkshires.

Massachusetts and New York are apparently going after our skiers. Michigan and Arizona are apparently going after our leaf peepers. Pennsylvania is reminding folks that they have covered bridges, too – along with casino gambling.

Vermont leaders say they understand the threat and are taking it seriously. But here’s a question for Montpelier, and the rest of the state. Does the impact on our landscape from wind turbines on ridgelines and acres of pastureland covered with solar panels help or hurt out ability to compete with these states for tourists?

H.40, which just passed out of the House Energy and Natural Resources committee, would put into law what was formerly an informal goal for Vermont to get 90% of its energy, including transportation and home heating, from in-state, renewable sources. This will require developing a large portion of our real estate into energy factories. It will be ugly.

Last week we posted a piece remarking how absurd it is that the Commerce and Economic Development Committee won’t get to vet the energy bill in regard to how it will certainly affect our manufacturing businesses. It’s equally foolish to ignore the impact of this bill on tourism.

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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

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