VT Rep. Michael Yantachka, member of the House Energy & Technology Committee

As we work to mitigate the effects of climate change on our environment, hydroelectric power must play a role in supplying carbon-free electricity. The hydroelectric dams on the Connecticut River are important in this effort. However, renewal of the licenses for the hydroelectric dams on the Connecticut River are contingent on how they affect the traditions and culture of the indigenous people who inhabit the area. In this case it is the Abenaki people of Vermont and New Hampshire who have had a relationship with the river for hundreds of years before the white man settled there. Great River Hydro has so far failed to involve the Abenaki people in its assessment of the effects of the license renewals on them. It is no longer ok to ignore our indigenous brothers and sisters. They have been pushed aside and co-opted for hundreds of years by the dominant white social structure. The license renewals should not be approved before this assessment includes participation by representatives of the Abenaki people.