MONTPELIER, Vt. — A critic of Big Renewables in Vermont is free from the threat of criminal prosecution after the attorney general’s office dropped an investigation launched in response to complaints from an anonymous green-energy developer.
Standing before a large crowd, Annette Smith, surrounded by her attorney and victims of green-energy development, thanked supporters and the anonymous developer whose complaints against her backfired when Vermonters rallied to her cause.
“I want to thank the people who brought this complaint to the attorney general’s office,” Smith said to thunderous applause from dozens of people gathered at the Statehouse on Monday.
“I want to thank the attorney general’s office, too, for following up on it and giving me this opportunity to speak to you all and to the people of Vermont to say we can work together to site renewable energy. We don’t have to fight over this, we don’t need lawyers to figure out how to build our energy future together.”
Smith, an environmental activist who helps towns oppose poorly sited solar and wind plants, was the target of a criminal probe for allegedly representing individuals and filing pleadings in Public Service Board proceedings, and for receiving “attorney compensation” for her work. The complainant charged that Smith was guilty of practicing law without a license, an act punishable as criminal contempt of the Vermont State Supreme Court.
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