What a difference four hours and three minutes can make.
The first e-mail blast from the Vermont Public Interest Research Group sent out last Friday offered a scathing assessment of parts of Gov. Peter Shumlin's comprehensive energy plan, which has been in the works for months. A draft of the energy plan was released recently and is open for public comment.
The first e-mail — an attempt to rally the VPIRG troops – began with the subject line: "Really? This is what we waited for?" The e-mail focuses on Shumlin's renewable energy goals, which VPIRG argued are lame and would — if realized — amount to slower renewable energy development than Vermont saw under the Douglas administration. Ouch.
Just over four hours after the first e-mail blast came a second. This one was titled: "Correction: Too harsh, good plan" and went on to accentuate the positive, while making note of the plan's "weak" bits.
Shumlin's advisor Alexandra MacLean called to complain about VPIRG's message, but VPIRG's James Moore said they were planning a second e-mail anyway and the blow-back isn't what prompted E-Mail 2.
“Yeah, they called us, but we were already in the works,” said Moore.
Moore argued the two e-mails don't mark any change in VPIRG's position; just a change in tone.
Note the contrast:
EMAIL 1, 11:47 a.m. on Friday from VPIRG's Ben Walsh (minus annoying embedded web addresses):
Tell Governor Shumlin we need to move faster on renewable energy, not slower!
After more than 6 months of anticipation and hard work put forth by Vermonters all across the state, the Shumlin Administration’s comprehensive energy plan was released last week. Parts of the plan are
visionary but we need action, not just vision. Shockingly, the plan promotes slower clean energy adoption than we saw happen under the Douglas administration.*
We need to take advantage of this opportunity and ask the Governor to call for immediate action!
The administration’s goal of 90% renewable electricity, heating and transportation by 2050 is a visionary, ambitious long-term target, but we know Vermonters want to secure their clean energy future today, not tomorrow. That’s why VPIRG is calling for an 80% renewable electricity standard by 2025 to jumpstart our progress.
Our combination of natural resources and local businesses means Vermont is in a perfect position to become a national leader in creating a clean energy economy, but to make that happen substantial change in the electricity sector must come sooner rather than later.
Click here to push Governor Shumlin to pursue bold short-term progress to achieve his long-term vision.
Vermont’s future depends on the choices we make today.
Having this kind of direct input in our state’s energy future is rare, and we need to take advantage of this chance to secure a clean energy economy for generations of Vermonters still to come. This energy plan was a collective effort between Vermont’s government, businesses and citizens; let’s make sure that the public interest gets the last word.
Tell the Governor and the Department of Public Service that we need specific, ambitious action now to put us on the right path TODAY.
Thanks for your hard work and dedication,
P.S. Don’t forget to join us for the Moving Planet climate rally in Montpelier tomorrow (Saturday, September 24, starting at 2 pm). FYI –Senator Sanders will be speaking after 5:30 pm on the statehouse lawn (not 3:30 pm as noted in our email Monday).
*Really. Since 2005, Vermont utilities have signed up for 13% of their electricity to come from new renewable projects by 2013. That is 1.6% new per year. The Shumlin plan is only calling for 1.1% new renewable electricity per year.
EMAIL 2, 3:50 p.m. on Friday, from Moore:
Earlier today we sent you an email about the Governor’s new energy plan. We missed the mark with the email.
So I want to be very clear. We are thrilled to have a comprehensive energy plan that shows real vision for where this state can and should go to create a clean energy legacy for our kids, reduce our dependence on oil and put Vermonters to work. It has been a long time since we had a real energy plan for the state, any plan.
There are parts of the plan that we feel are weak, like the renewable energy requirements. We hope those parts of the plan will be improved as it is refined.
Please do comment on the plan http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=%2FFbChFwnGwH74KH7%2FO%2F2LpxbqS9%2FbeiV to make it even better and know that we are
starting from a strong draft plan.
Have a great weekend,