The Vermont chapter of the Sierra Club issued a press release last week affirming its support for “well placed wind farms” and arguing that wind farms, as part of the state’s renewable energy portfolio, would boost tourism in the state.

In particular, the press release notes that potential visitors in surrounding states were invited to email Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin to let him know that “I am a tourist and I support wind farms.”

Introducing the survey results, however, the Vermont chapter of the Sierra Club included this sentence.

“Therefore, in the interest of more accurately framing the parameters of the wind energy debate, we have asked some of our neighbors in surrounding states (NH, MA, CT, RI, NY) to express their views on this alleged issue to our Governor via email” (emphasis added).

Alleged issue? Seriously? There is nothing “alleged” about the issue of the appropriateness of commercial wind farms in Vermont and the impact on tourism, the environment, the viewshed and the issue of local towns being able to control their own destinies.

There is nothing alleged at all about the fact that the topic is the subject of important and legitimate and normally respectful debate throughout the state.

It’s completely fine for any organization, group or individual in Vermont to stake out a position on this extremely important issue, but for one organization to call this very critical dialogue on a very critical issue “alleged” is dismissive, cursory and insulting.

It is not conducive to the public discussion that this issue deserves, and it is the type of language that diminishes the credibility and stature of an esteemed organization such as the Sierra Club in Vermont and at the national level.

It is baffling and disappointing that the Vermont chapter would use such inflammatory language to trivialize the views of those who don’t share their opinions.

To use such language is completely disrespectful. That’s not the Vermont way.