Lockheed ‘not a practical answer’

Lockheed Martin may be coming to Burlington soon, but some students say they aren’t sure about the city’s partnership with the global company. The Student Government Association passed a resolution on Feb. 8 supporting Burlington citizens’ opposition against Mayor Kiss’ partnership to participate in climate change projects with Lockheed Martin, the resolution stated. “Mayor Kiss of the City of Burlington, VT, has not been sufficiently transparent about his communications with Lockheed Martin regarding its ‘Carbon War Room’ and potential partnerships with the City of Burlington,” the resolution stated. Lockheed Martin is a major corporation that specializes in research, design and sustainment of advanced technologies and is the largest provider of information technology services and training to the U.S. government, according to the Lockheed Martin website. The Carbon War Room is a nonprofit organization committed to lowering greenhouse gas emissions by partnering cities with businesses working on energy efficiency and renewable energy, the fact sheet on Burlington and Lockheed Martin stated. “I think that calling for transparency and more open processes is always important,” SGA Senator William Bennington said. Bennington, who introduced the resolution, said that it is very important for UVM to support the collective sense of values and standards that the Burlington community holds. “It is still important that our actions are facilitated and carried out in the most democratic way possible with free, open flows of information,” he said. Lockheed Martin expressed an interest in working in Burlington to test energy efficiency technologies that could potentially be used in other, larger cities, the fact sheet stated. Burlington and Lockheed Martin signed a letter of cooperation on Dec. 20 pledging to work together to explore options for sustainable environmental practices and renewable energy projects, the fact sheet stated. Citizens of Burlington do not think that collaborating with a global arms manufacturer is the best way to promote their Climate Action Plan, according to the Burlington Free Press. Burlington’s Climate Action Plan hopes to have a 20 percent greenhouse gas reduction by 2020, the fact sheet stated. Bennington shared similar concerns with Burlington citizens and said that climate change is one of the most critical issues of our time and that Lockheed Martin is not a practical answer for solutions to this problem. “To truly combat climate change, our Climate Action Plan needs to address changing the systems in our city and society that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions,” Bennington said. The SGA supports efforts to increase public dialogue on changing the Climate Action Plan and implementing a new plan that works best for everyone, the resolution stated. “While I do not think Lockheed should be part of our Climate Action Plan, I do think as a city we need to come together and find solutions that can work for all of us,” Bennington said.