News circulated Friday afternoon, Feb. 11, that Governor Shumlin has chosen Ron Shems as the person to head up the Natural Resources Board, which oversees both the Land Use Panel (Act 250) and the Water Resources Panel (rule-making on water quality issues).

Ron Shems’ most visible work recently has been as the lead attorney for First Wind, litigating against neighbors, including a professional fisheries biologist, who are attempting to protect high elevation headwaters from construction damage for the wind turbine project in Sheffield.

Throughout the legal proceedings, Mr. Shems has been fierce in his efforts to assure that First Wind has the legal authority to proceed with construction in a manner that is pretty much guaranteed to degrade the trout streams.  The construction stormwater permit that is under appeal allows a useless standard for evaluating stream turbidity caused by sedimentation from construction runoff, requires no useful baseline water quality monitoring or determination of the prior level of sedimentation of the streams, requires no monitoring for Temperature, pH or TSS, all things that are required at Stratton and Stowe ski areas.  To protect water quality for trout streams, meaningful turbidity standards need to be applied (10 ntu is protective), and the temperature, pH and TSS need to be monitored regularly.

Will Ron Shems set aside his advocacy for First Wind now that he is working for the people of Vermont, and work to enhance and protect our high elevation headwaters?  Or did Governor Shumlin choose him for this position so that he can assist wind developers in degrading our natural resources?

From: Borie, Lou
Sent: Friday, February 11, 2011 2:10 PM
Subject: New Chair
Greetings – We understand that later this afternoon the Governor will announce the appointment of Ron Shems as the new Chair of NRB. As many of you know, Ron is currently a principal in the firm of Shems Dunkiel Raubvogel and Saunders. Before that he was an Assistant Attorney General in the Environmental Division for a number of years. Some of you have worked on Act 250 enforcement cases with Ron in the past. Ron will be joining us for part of the coordinators meeting on Monday. We are very excited to welcome him to the Board and look forward to working with him.  Lou