The Rutland Herald
August 8, 2012 Opinion/Letters
Getting realistic about petroleum
Emily Peyton’s letter (Breaking free of oil cartels, Rutland Herald, July17) writes that the “Peyton for Governor team have developed the Vermont Pledge: Off of oil in 5 and all organic in 5.” She adds that “We ask Vermonters to imagine all the medians growing hemp and every yard with a raised garden bed, every school with apprenticeship programs from grade school.” Ms. Peyton wants voters to know “how hemp factors so heavily in our petroleum-free future.”
What petroleum-free future?
Does Ms. Peyton or anyone on her campaign team know that petrochemicals have a vast variety of uses beyond fuel consumption? While one 42-gallon barrel of oil does create about 20 gallons of gasoline, over half of the barrel is used to make roughly 6,000 different products, including food packaging, cosmetics, medicines, prosthetics, house wares, fabrics, construction materials, sports products and toys, just name a few.
As a long-term hemp activist I am well aware of the incredible uses of the hemp tree. Overturning industrial hemp-prohibition is the sensible and necessary thing to do. But Ms. Peyton’s “get ‘er done” campaign pledge is not a realistic proposal that a governor would take before the Vermont people, much less the state legislature.
Calvin Coolidge, born in Windsor County, Vermont, once said, “The chief business of the American people is business.” Not much has changed in that regard. While idealism is good for campaign slogans, we need a governor who can understand that industrial-hemp should play an important role in the future of Vermont’s industry and be able to rationally convince the legislature to make it so.