As deadline nears for vote on gas-diesel car sale ban, key lawmakers seem unaware

By Guy Page

Many adults share a recurring nightmare that they are back in school, the final exam is upon them, and they haven’t even attended the class all year long. They are going to fail! The eight members of the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (LCAR) may be living that nightmare over a major rule change in Vermont that would begin restricting the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in 2026 leading up to an outright ban on such sales after 2035.

California passed emissions standards for vehicles sold in that state that will ultimately ban the sale of new gas/diesel powered cars and light trucks by 2035. Other states are required to choose to follow either California’s emissions standards or the federal governments, which are less restrictive. Since 2005, when the California waver was first established, 16 states have traditionally followed California’s lead, and Vermont is one of them. Vermont now must decide whether or not to stay on the California path to banning ICE vehicles or get back to operating under federal standards, which do not ban ICE vehicles.

LCAR will be voting YES or NO before Dec. 1. But until Vermont Daily Chronicle contacted the LCAR members and asked them what they were thinking in regard to Vermont and the California car ban, almost none of them appeared to know the issue was even going to come before them, or that they had to be prepared to make a decision.

state of Vermont

Sen. Chris Bray

Senator Chris Bray (D-Addison), who in addition to being a member of LCAR is chair of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, which is a committee of jurisdiction over this issue, responded to VDC’s inquiry, “Such a rule, or even draft rule, is news to me.”

Senator Mark MacDonald (D-Orange), who chairs the LCAR committee, stated, “I’m glad we have over 4470 days until implementation of CA’s newly announced standards. Vermonters will be sifting through it for some time.”

But MacDonald’s arithmetic is wrong by a factor of 60.

A memo from Athena Dexter-Cooper, the legal counsel for the LCAR committee, is clear, “In terms of timing … the Climate Action Plan [created by the Climate Council formed under the Global Warming Solutions Act] directs ANR [the Agency of Natural Resources] to adopt this suite of rules, with Advanced Clean Cars II being adopted not later than December 1, 2022.” That’s not 4470 days away, it’s less than seventy five. And LCAR needs to let ANR know what their recommendation is before then.

Other states in the same boat as Vermont, those that have traditionally followed California, are aware of what is going on and are taking action to disassociate from the ban.

state of Vermont

Sen. Mark MacDonald, D-Orange, who chairs the LCAR committee, stated, “I’m glad we have over 4,470 days until implementation of CA’s newly announced standards. Vermonters will be sifting through it for some time.”
But MacDonald’s arithmetic is wrong by a factor of 60.

According to Governing.com, Gov. Janet Mills of Maine says, “she doesn’t support a California-style mandate to phase out all new gasoline-only vehicles by 2035.” And even the Sierra Club of Maine agrees the proposal is just too radical for a small, rural population. “’At this point in Maine, a mandate probably doesn’t make much sense,’ said Anna Wright, the legislative and political strategist at Sierra Club Maine.”

Another such state is Colorado. The Colorado Sun reports, “Colorado regulators, who adopted California’s older rules, won’t follow California’s new ones, the administration of Democratic Gov. Jared Polis said.” The article also reports that other states, including Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Minnesota are balking at the policy as too radical and impractical. Time will tell what the rest decided.

“We obviously have a choice to make here,” said Rob Roper of the Ethan Allen Institute board of directors, who has been following this issue closely, “but the Climate Council and the Agency of Natural Resources under the Scott Administration are behaving as if following California over the cliff is a done deal. This despite the fact that a landslide majority of Vermonters do not approve of this policy.”

Roper was referring to a poll done by The UVM Center for Rural Studies earlier this summer that showed 65% of Vermonters do not approve of banning the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles for the purposes of reducing carbon emissions. Only 15% approved of the policy and 20% were unsure.

“That our elected representatives are apparently clueless as to what’s going on here and what their role is in protecting the interests and desires of their constituents is pathetic. I wish I could say shocking,” said Roper.

ANR and the Climate Council are conducting a series of public meetings on the California vehicle ban but are not presenting the policy as an option to the public. The meetings are simply informing those who show up that the rule will be adopted by Vermont, so get ready, and what the potential impacts might be.

The one LCAR member who responded with clear understanding of the issue and who had thought through the implications was Senator Joe Benning (R-Caledonia), who is also a candidate for lieutenant governor. “The [electric] infrastructure [in Vermont] does not currently have the ability to accommodate expected purchases and won’t likely have it for some time.  That’s one of the reasons why I have consistently voted against this legislation from the beginning. I tell Vermonters who can’t afford EV’s or can’t use them that they need to get to the polls in November and vote Republican.  I’m pretty sure I’ve been on record as saying that for the past 12 years or so.

“I voted against the original GWSA, have consistently argued against it whenever the argument comes up, and will do what I can on LCAR to point out that this will produce an undue and very expensive burden on Vermonters,” said Benning.

Guy Page is publisher of the Vermont Daily Chronicle. Reprinted with permission.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Erum Patel and state of Vermont
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14 thoughts on “As deadline nears for vote on gas-diesel car sale ban, key lawmakers seem unaware

  1. Over a century ago when my grandfather started driving gas fueled cars he told me that you got gas at the general store in big cuboid cans. Boy scouts loved ’em – for making camp stoves and ovens. You can probably still find directions for doing that. When I started driving, nearly all gas stations were closed at night, most on Sunday, too. Over a half century after the invention of the automobile horses were still used as transportation, for pulling wagons – even in places like NY City. I remember them in the early fifties, greengrocer carts, fish on ice from Fulton street. The evolution of change is gradual. It wasn’t forced. My farrier still ploughs with a team of horses. Electric vehicles – or something superior – will evolve into use and the infrastructure will grow to support them. It will, and should, evolve as they become competitive with what we’re now using – without government sucking trillions out of the taxpayers, the private sector, out of the economy to make it happen.

    • Thank you, Francisco, for recognizing and reporting this problem.
      The natural evolution of technology has been replaced by government mandates. If a similar mindset existed when automobiles first came out, the government would have been immediately shooting all the horses. The following half century, until automobiles earned favor, would have been as costly and painful as our next half century will be as we pay for, and wait for, the infrastructure to support this transition to be established.

  2. Wouldn’t it be ‘different’ to have access to an EV that was so well made, with the recharging infrastructure so well in place, that EVERY ONE couldn’t wait to purchase one?
    Instead …. We have this half-baked technology stuffed down our throats and lithium pond pollution from making the batteries uncontained!

  3. Yeah right lets follow commiefornia off the cliff… they can’t produce or acquire
    enough juice now for the limited EV’s now on their roads, limiting charging time
    due to brown outs and high temps requiring more AC. They have no water or
    fire prevention policy either. The populace with half a brain are leaving the dem
    destroyed wasteland in droves.. Listen to the lefties in Maine who still have a
    thinking cap on. Rural states need rural solutions not mega failed state solutions.. Just say NO to battery power which if fire prone, time consuming to charge, decayed power from the cold and environmentally terrible for the earth and people…

  4. Lunacy. Idiocy. If VT residents cannot own gas cars, then what will happen to all the GAS STATIONS….the majority will go out of business because local Vermonters buy almost all the gas they sell. SO? VT depends on tourists, skiers etc….What if there are NO GAS STATIONS left? If no gas to buy, no skiers or tourists can come here (no gas)….hotels, motels, B&B’s… and ski areas face bankruptcy? What about out of state tractor trailers delivering all kinds of food, medicines, , clothes, household goods etc….if their truck is OUT of diesel for return trip?. WHAT companies will want to locate in VT then? How many residents will leave?

    What is to stop someone who has a friend or relative in NY, MA or NY and you register your car there but live in VT?

    what lunacy. Wake up. Time to get out of VT while you can.

    • Jeffrey, the point is not to fix anything, it’s to destroy it all.
      They burn down their own cities, the same people are burning down the states and the nation.
      But do they want to live in the mess they’ve made?
      Because they don’t have enough money to survive the fallout of what they did- plus deal with an extremely pissed off 50% of the population that is cold, hungry, poor and well armed.

  5. Thanks Guy for this timely article. It is extremely important before an election to get all politicians including Governor Scott on the record as to whether or not they will let this become law. While Governor Scott has said he believes we should move forward on electric vehicles as quickly as possible, he has not specifically addressed his postion on this deadline. He needs to do so.

    This is another example of climate change ideological desire meeting the road of Vermont reality. Keep the pressure on all politicians to commit to where they stand before the election.

    • The best way to “move forward on electric vehicles as quickly as possible”, is to allow the free market to dictate our actions.

      “The key insight of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations is misleadingly simple: if an exchange between two parties is voluntary, it will not take place unless both believe they will benefit from it.” Milton Friedman

      But when the Administrative State puts its thumb on our economic scales; corruption, incompetence, and dysfunction, always, always, follow.

  6. A memo from Athena Dexter-Cooper, the legal counsel for the LCAR committee, is clear:

    “In terms of timing … the Climate Action Plan [created by the Climate Council formed under the Global Warming Solutions Act] directs ANR [the Agency of Natural Resources] to adopt this suite of rules, with Advanced Clean Cars II being adopted not later than December 1, 2022.”

    Dem Senator Bray, a decades-long, well-connected, avid, self-acclaimed, global warming fighter, is saying: “News to me?”
    How come it is not news to Bob Roper, Guy Page, the ALTERNATIVE MEDIA, and many others?

    During a deranged, rah-rah moment, without thinking through the implications, a bunch of lawyers and legislators, wanting to follow the GWSA lead of the failed-state of California (long-time residents leaving at 350,000 per year, and all sorts of illegal folks coming in) tried to put the Vermont economy, and Vermonters into a straight jacket, and then into a hermetically sealed box, to MAKE DOUBLY SURE VERMONT WOULD SAVE THE WORLD.

    Since then, with a major recession coming up, and unemployment increasing, and wages stagnating/not keeping up, people having 2 or 3 part-time gigs, and food prices up 25%, and fuel prices up 200%, and with 9% inflation, and the FED IN TIGHTENING MODE, and the federal government having MULTI-TRILLION ANNUAL DEFICITS, and UNVETTED, unskilled, uneducated, inexperienced folks, from all over the world, ENCOURAGED to walk across the wide open border, by the millions, EACH YEAR.

    Of course with and ELECTION coming up, and Dem/Progs definitely LOOSING SOME SEATS, no politician wants to be on record he/she/it/whatever voted to STIGMATIZE the sale of old and new gasoline/diesel vehicles in Vermont, and allow the sale of ONLY EVs by 2035.

    Does that mean the small backhoe doing some landscaping must be battery-powered?
    What if it runs out of juice during the day?
    Would a separate diesel/generator be brought to the site?
    Would that not be slowing down the job, and be inefficient, make Vermont even less competitive?

    Plus, as admitted by any sane person, Vermont could disappear and it would not make one iota of difference regarding global warming.

    • Spot on, Willem. Isn’t it amazing how gullible people are? The ‘Global Warming Solutions Act’. Really? Put it on the list of deceptive titles like ‘The Vermont Right to Personal Reproductive Autonomy Amendment’, ‘The Inflation Reduction Act’, ‘The Affordable Care Act.’ None of these legislative deceptions do what their titles say they do.

      That “no politician wants to be on record” in this regard is the weakness in their position. I, for one, will always endeavor to hold them (and those who support them) accountable for their actions, or for their lack thereof. Will that be too late? Will Vermont ‘disappear’?

      I think not, because we all operate in our own self-interest. And the proof is in the pudding, as Joe Biden said recently on 60 Minutes, ‘when we eat it’.

      If there is any proof to the incompetence of these legislative deceptions, it is in their application. Who could have guessed that our ‘Administrative State’, Democrats and Republicans, could be so inept? … except for our willingness to give them a shot at running things?

      Well, now we know. And how we vote in November will be the next litmus test of our sanity.

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