Carbon regulation sneaking in under the radar in Vermont

The carbon tax hasn’t gained significant traction in the climate-conscious state of Vermont, but environmental activists have new approaches that could see progress in 2019.

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NOT A TAX?: Environmentalists are thinking up more creative schemes to mitigate carbon without calling it a tax.

Last year, lawmakers were under pressure to adopt the Essex Plan, under which fuel distributors would pay an excise tax of 32 cents per gallon for gasoline, 40 cents for diesel and heating oil, and 24 cents for propane and natural gas. It never gained serious traction in the Statehouse despite a strong liberal majority in both chambers.

One of the new proposals being advanced is not a direct tax on carbon production at all, but it could nonetheless raise costs of living. This time activists envision a green energy mandate tied to the permitting process for Act 250, the state’s land use law. Act 250 is currently undergoing revisions and the latest draft proposes a green agenda when it comes to energy usage for new developments.

“The climate change subcriterion would require net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from the construction, operation, and maintenance of the development or subdivision and the vehicular traffic that it generates,” reads the Dec. 13 draft report from the Commission on Act 250. “This standard would allow for the use of offsets, such as carbon sequestration in Vermont, if they are verifiable and enforceable.”

It continues that unconventional building methods may be required to achieve these goals.

“The climate change subcriterion also would require the use of design and materials that are sufficient to enable the improvements to be constructed, including buildings, roads, and other infrastructure, to withstand and adapt to the effects of climate change reasonably projected at the time of application.”

State Sen. Dick McCormack, D-Windsor, is a member of the Act 250 Commission, which is tasked with the rewrite. He acknowledged that carbon mitigation is at the forefront of the group’s agenda, and that could mean more cost.

“Every nail you put in is gonna cost more,” he said. “If you really wanna save money you can throw caution to the wind and ignore the environment altogether, and you probably will get some buildings up a little cheaper.”

McCormack emphasized that development is a key factor in carbon emissions.

“Transportation is probably the big issue but construction is not a small thing.” he said. “You construct this in this way or that way and one of which will end up with more carbon in the atmosphere than the other and we want to maximize the carbon reduction.”

James Taylor, a senior fellow for energy and environment for the Heartland Institute, suggested that due to the carbon tax being so unpopular across the nation and the world, alternative approaches to curb carbon output are cropping up.

“The notion of a carbon dioxide tax is unpopular anywhere they try it, and the most recent example is in the 2018 midterms for Washington State. That’s a blue state and a carbon dioxide tax was beaten down pretty handily,” he said.

“Certainly, if you mandate that a building be carbon neutral or something like that, it can have the same impact as forcing usage away from affordable and conventional energy. It could be even more insidious than a carbon tax, if that’s possible.”

He added, however, that even these mandates going to face resistance.

“I think it’s still going to be a difficult sell,” Taylor said. “People understand that imposing these utopian mandates for energy efficiency is gonna come at a steep price.”

Vermonters aren’t planning to let the new Statehouse session begin without reminding lawmakers that many voters are against the carbon tax. On this Wednesday, the first day of the session, there is a “yellow vest” protest planned to imitate the Paris anti-carbon tax movement.

Other carbon regulation schemes in the works include the Transportation Carbon Initiative (TCI), which includes nine states and Washington, D.C. This transportation tax is also currently in the study phase, and Vermont is a participant.

Already implemented since 2017 are the renewable energy portfolio standards. These are green energy mandates for electric utilities, and they incrementally increase non-carbon energy production requirements every several years.

“Under Tier I, this defined percentage starts at 55% in 2017, the first year the RES is in effect, and increases by 4% every three years, eventually reaching 75% in 2032,” the policy reads.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Images courtesy of Flickr/ and Public domain

33 thoughts on “Carbon regulation sneaking in under the radar in Vermont

  1. If everyone moved out of Vermont and nothing occurred here for the next 100 years, the effect on climate change wouldn’t even be measurable. So why then, would Vermonts left want to create regulations that would harm our working people and elderly? The answer is simple, Vermonts left wants to feel clever and morally superior.

  2. Sorry to be so impolitic, but do any of you have any possible solutions to actually help bring some balance back to VT?

    • The left has no interest in a semblance of balance in VT. They want to control every aspect of your life. Cradle to grave, all while they become the ruling class.

      • Isn’t it stunning that the VT legislature seems to believe that the average Vermonter is incapable of taking care of themselves ? How many times have you heard to term “vulnerable Vermonters” in the past several years ? Seems to apply to 90% of the population.

        • the state, the employees and many rich people tied close to government are making serious money keeping people in generational poverty. Seriously, think of all the jobs lost and all the subsidized rent checks and all the tax credits for $500/sq/ft affordable homes that would be lost if Vermont just all
          allowed people to be independent rather than trapping them in the system.

          There is great money in our poverty system, there is great power, it’s just that neither money nor power are for the citizen

    • Start un-electing some of the dem-prog lot that seem to have a foothold in that puzzle palace called the capital.
      That’s where the rubber meets the road.

    • Yes, offer school choice. That might bring some balance back. The public education monopoly indoctrinates our young early on. It’s a dirty circle…democrats pass rules and regulations that benefit union jobs, the teachers union pays up with promised votes and campaign cash.

    • Hi Katie. I commented a the political problems in Vermont in this True North Reports article, for ref:
      A critique of Vermont’s political economy

      My comments was:
      If there were a way of diluting the monopoly and controlling influence of the elected in Chittenden County, it needs to be done…otherwise you have what you have. Need to limit the numbers, alike as in America- 2 Senators per state- therefore 2 Senators per Country, not based on the number of people. Rutland & Windsor Counties have 3 Senators. The political geography needs to be spread about evenly.

      But the majority of Montpelier won’t cave in and change this scope making it more fair. Also I learned since that country has 35 Representatives. That very liberal country controls VT.

      I can only hope they collapse on their own doing. Otherwise, time will tell.

  3. Carbon Tax Impact On A Typical Vermont Family, as reported on VTDigger:

    Any tax, including a carbon tax, passing through the hands of government suffers from “the sticky fingers syndrome”, 2 dollars go in about 1.5 dollars come out. The difference stays to feed the growing government bureaucracy.

    The key word missing in most discussions is UNILATERAL. VT’s government imposing on Vermonters a unilateral carbon tax is like shooting them in the feet.

    If the carbon tax were nationwide, I would support it.

    The carbon tax would:

    – Impose a $10/ton tax of carbon emitted in 2017, increasing to $100/ton in 2027.
    – Generate about $100 million in state revenue in 2019, about $520 million in 2027.
    – Be added to the fuel prices at gas stations and fuel oil/propane dealers.
    – Drivers should expect a tax increase of 9 c/gal of gasoline in 2018, increasing to about 89 cents in 2027.
    – Homeowners, schools, hospitals, businesses, etc., should expect a tax increase of 58 c/gal of propane and $1.02/gal of heating oil and diesel fuel in 2027.
    – A typical household (two wage earners, two cars, in a free-standing house) would pay additional taxes in 2027 of about:
    – Some of the carbon tax extortion would be at the pump, some when the monthly fuel bills arrive, and some as higher prices of OTHER goods and services.

    Driving = $0.89/gal x 2 x 12000 miles/y x 1/(30 miles/gal) = $712/y
    Heating = $1.02/gal x 800 gal/y = $816/y
    Total carbon tax in 2027 = $1528/y
    Sales tax reduction 5/6 x 1400 = $233/y
    Net tax increase = $1295/y

    – The hypocritical sop of reducing the sales tax from 6 to 5 percent would save that household about $233 in sales taxes, for a net loss of $1295 in 2027. That means such households, the backbone of the Vermont economy, would have about $1300/y less to make ends meet.
    – Many of these households have had stagnant or declining, spendable real incomes (after taxes, fees, surcharges; other recurring expenses, etc.), plus dealing with a near-zero, real-growth Vermont economy, since 2000.
    – With less real income, and higher real prices for goods and services, they also would have to make their own energy efficiency improvements

  4. One important point to remember, this is the socialist agenda. Control people’s money and you control them, it takes away their freedom in all aspects. The people that moved into VT and into government are predisposed to impart controlling socialism (close to communism) onto VT’s unaware populace. It’s almost too late to correct. There are clearly outside forces involved. Basic human behavior of Live and Let Live in Vermont has been gutterized / eliminated. As one commentator wrote “tax, tax, tax…” is a part of the game plan.

    Vermont, being small (relative to majority of other states-size and population) the residents can easily be manipulated into a test bed for this endeavor. I haven’t seen such a display of this magnitude elsewhere and I’ve been in many 49 states and lived in seven. Since the early 70’s this transformation has been creeping into Vermont. Vermont has become a test bed to launch this idiosyncratic event(s) onto other states. It backed by outside money George Soros et al. Learn about his involvements worldwide and what he’s doing. Also involved is the One World Order and the alike groups. The Bilderbergs had meetings in NH at the Mt Washington Hotel, search it for info. The legislators must have been schooled in Saul Alinsky’s 8 Rules for Social State, it’s amazing the parallel happenings in VT:
    There are 8 levels of control that must be obtained before you are able to create a social state. The first is the most important.

    1) Healthcare – Control healthcare and you control the people

    2) Poverty – Increase the Poverty level as high as possible, poor people are easier to control and will not fight back if you are providing everything for them to live.

    3) Debt – Increase the debt to an unsustainable level. That way you are able to increase taxes, and this will produce more poverty.

    4) Gun Control – Remove the ability to defend themselves from the Government. That way you are able to create a police state.

    5) Welfare – Take control of every aspect of their lives (Food, Housing, and Income)

    6) Education – Take control of what people read and listen to – take control of what children learn in school.

    7) Religion – Remove the belief in God from the Government and schools

    8) Class Warfare – Divide the people into the wealthy and the poor. This will cause more discontent and it will be easier to take (Tax) the wealthy with the support of the poor.

    It’s readily observed, and “Climate Control” is a part…it’s not about Climate, it’s about Control.

    • You are so right! The elites have convinced themselves they know what is best for everyone. They are such snobs they can not even hear someone elses point of view. We are the test rats in Vermont for the country. Our media, our elected officials Montpelier are all in lock step with the socialist/ progressive agenda, and we need to rise up and do something about it. Maybe we need a yellow jacket event in Burlington on a Saturday. Just maybe we would open some eyes.

  5. Net zero greenhouse gas emissions from a development that requires Act 250 approval.

    All other development is exempt.

    Net zero means highly efficient buildings. If houses, a heating demand of less than about 16000 Btu/h for a 2000 sq ft house.

    Such houses could be heated with heat pumps at less cost per hour than with fuel oil, except at about 0F and below.

    Such houses would indirectly emit about 350 g CO2/kWh drawn from the NE grid, based on primary energy fed to generators, about 400 g CO2/kWh, based on source energy.

    Such houses would directly emit very little CO2, because they would use very little fossil fuels.

    That means, as long as the world uses about 78% of primary energy from fossil fuels, all goods and services contain that percentage, on average.

    The interesting fact is the 78% has been nearly unchanged for 43 years, despite the world spending about $300 billion on renewables each year. Just google

    Net zero is an imaginary pipe dream, that will not be realized for many decades.

    • Numbers in theory are impressive. In Vermont the building / modification of efficient buildings to achieve “net zero” will not happen for a couple of generations. It takes major expenses. Not only to install the system but to modernize the buildings, a major upgrade. Ride around the state, many dilapidated buildings, towns are just as in disrepair, people are hurting because of excessive taxes.

      People may be able to go thru the grant process to help fund the upgrades, but will not fully. I see if this State mandate is instigated, there will be empty houses and towns. The schools will become empty-no kids (ruin the state NEA and labor unions—heaven forbid!!!).

      The eliminating CO2 sounds great, not practical. How do you stop CO2 from coming into VT from other states? I don’t think people will give up heating their houses with wood, a generations old endeavor. Furthermore, electrical power isn’t constant, crank up the generators to run the sophisticated systems, CO2 emissions.

      Need reality. VT isn’t in the warmer south, and in 1816, winter year around was experienced.due to volcanic activity—-uncontrolled CO2 emissions!!!!

      • Hi Tom,

        Read this article about the futility of heat pumps placed in Vermont’s energy hog houses, as proven by VT-DPS study, and many other similar studies.

        McCormick is a committed Socialist, just like Bernie and his accolytes.

        They will not rest until all aspects of Vermont’s society and economy are firmly under THEIR government control.

        That is the reason they are vilifying Trump, because he is a threat to THEIR control; “Impeach the …..” said the Palestinian US house representative from California,

        • Hi William, you have great commentaries.
          I am quite familiar with the Geothermal heating-cooling aspects. I designed and built a house in Elberta AL, water front. I did all the systems, elec, (incoming, light meter, circuit Breaker box, arc faults, GFI’s 4 way switches, etc) plumbing, sewer, post & beam, Considered Geo. In the south elec costs are high and the expense of installing the ground system vs the heat pump combo of cooling and heating was at that time better and simpler. Had to build the house on pilings (23) to be above the flood plane, per regs. It was all ladder work, tiring on the feet. For ref, I’ve done elec work in VT, NH, MD, SD and AL and have all the code books and all work was inspected and passed. I’m not an electrician, just a do-it-all engineer. I like elec work.

          Near the water in AL (75 feet), dig into the ground and water is two feet below the surface, which should make a geo system efficient. I have many books on the subject. But bear in mind the ground temp in AL is relatively warm. Also it is opposite VT, winters are warmer, summers are hot. Been here working in many a summer. Take potassium pills to prevent leg cramping in the heat.

          At least being in AL winters, I’m not shoveling that white crap, been there, done that!!! Looking to move here, many nice aspects and low taxes.

          Thanks for your reply. Hope others take note.

      • When will they be closing the airports?
        Air travel is the biggest emitter going,yet they all flew to Poland for the climate summit.

  6. This tax would cripple Vermont’s lower and middle class, particularly outside of Burlington and Montpelier.

    • In response to Mr. O’Neill’s comment, he is absolutely correct. The people who don’t have a whole bunch of money feel the effect of these insane policies the VT elected and non-elected officials put into motion. Recently, VT put into motion a program that prevented thousands of vehicles from passing the annual inspection due to rust. I was in an inspection station and witnessed a young couple trying to get their pickup inspected. The vehicle was condemned because of rust on the chassis. Nothing new in northern VT! Yes, the vehicle needed some work but this young couple did not have two quarters in their pocket. The young man said that he would not be able to get to work.
      Another story, recently, Montpelier decided to enforce inspections of fuel oil tanks. They ordered fuel delivery companies to inspect oil tanks, propane tanks, supply lines and certify that they did not have any rust and if they were outside, they had to have a overhang covering them. I was in my bank and the manager told me that senior citizens were coming in asking for a loan so they could replace their tank.The point that I am making is that people who are getting paid by the tax payer make these laws and policies without any regard of the hardships they invoke.

    • Bill,

      Dem/Prog legislators, working with bleeding-heart, socialist, stakeholder groups, will be using the carbon tax money to set up government programs, (energy, health, education, etc.) to alleviate the pain inflicted on the lower classes and lower middle classes and thereby secure enough of their votes to stay in power forever.

  7. If this tax becomes reality, the first company that will leave Vermont will be Global Foundries with a whole bunch of other companies leaving right behind them. When Gov. Malloy announced that he was increasing the corporate tax rate in CT, General Electric said “you raise the tax and we will leave”.
    Gov. Bozo got on local TV and told the residents of CT “GE will never leave CT”. Guess what? They left and moved to Boston.
    The end result to a carbon tax will be felt by every homeowner, renter, business, senior citizen, welfare recipients and students. The people running VT should really think this out because when the young people leave, the wage earners/tax payers disappear and guess what? The state goes bankrupt. I don’t see waves of young people or retired people moving into VT. I do see elementary schools decreasing in pupil enrollment.

  8. Keep voting Blue VT and you’ll keep seeing people struggle and struggle more and more!!! That’s all they do is tax tax tax.

  9. Tax, tax, tax, tax.if this keeps up, the $10,000 bribe to attract folks with their of state jobs will be peanuts. Continue to implement tax upon tax and the only tax payers left will be the idiots in Montpelier.

  10. Carbon regulation sneaking in under the radar in Vermont, that not true !!

    It’s sneaking in because of Progressive DemocRATs have control in Montpelier
    and with the Governor having NO Veto power ………

    All the Liberal Agendas will come to fruition, hold on to your wallets.

    Just look how France handled it, wake up Vermont !!

    • “It’s sneaking in because of Progressive DemocRATs have control in Montpelier
      and with the Governor having NO Veto power ………”

      Mr governor is worthless as he is a lying RINO,veto power or no.

      • I already did in anticipation of it coming. Quite simply I got sick and tired of looking like a piggy bank for these folks. Question is, who’s going to move here to buy your house once it’s passed?

        Still needed is the extraction of extended family from VT, a work in progress.

    • Good thing VT is a small state, and we can buy our materials over the border in a different state. A lifetime in international law enforcement comes in mighty handy when considering strategies for successfully thwarting attempts to discover smuggling activity.

      • At that point isn’t it just simpler to move? Seems like a lot of work that wold become tiresome at some point. Maybe if I where in my 20’s but not anymore.

        Cheers though.

        • The easy way isn’t always the right way. I rarely took that path during the course of my life and have never regretted it. There are also seven generations of my relatives buried in cemeteries throughout Northern VT – compared to what they endured, anything I do in comparison would be ‘easy’.

          • Sir, you certainly have my respect for that.

            I built my home with my one two hands, took me 10 years to build a post and beam home with the hemlock from my former land. I knew I had it when the town appraiser hit me with an extra assessment because I, in an effort to save money on heating bills used insulated panels on my home. It was deemed “above average” insulation. Proverbial “nail in the coffin” for me.

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