Climate tour makes a stop in Barre

By Logan Soloman | Community News Service

BARRE — With a veto-proof majority, Democrats aim to take another crack at a clean heat bill and make climate issues their first priority next year in the State House.

That was one of the key takeaways from a Monday night forum hosted by Vermont Public Interest Research Group at the Old Labor Hall.

“Leadership prioritizes climate now more than ever,” said state Senator-Elect Rebecca White, one of the speakers. White told the crowd that she had met with Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Baruth, who told her his top legislative priority is climate policy.

Community News Service/Logan Soloman

Legislators and event attendees mingle before a forum on climate policy goals organized by the Vermont Public Interest Research Group.

White was one of five current or soon-to-be lawmakers who spoke at the event and met with the about two dozen attendees, including a few local faces: Anne Watson, state senator-elect and Montpelier mayor; Jonathan Williams, state representative-elect; and recently reelected Sen. Andrew Perchlik, D/P-Washington.

The event was a part of a statewide 12-stop climate tour in which politicians and attendees can discuss legislative issues centered on climate change. Meeting the state’s legally required carbon emissions targets has been a focal point of the tour, and event organizers have also looked to connect locals with their representatives to urge action.

All the tour events have been co-led by the advocacy group’s climate campaign manager Jordan Heiden and White, who will represent the Windsor Senate district.

“If I had to guess, in the House they will likely start on making rules to the renewable energy standard, while in the Senate the clean and affordable heat standard (might be first),” White said

Earlier this year, environmental activists expressed disappointment to Vermont Public about Republican Gov. Phil Scott’s veto of last legislative session’s landmark heating reform bill. That bill was projected to account for a third of the state’s legally required emissions reductions by 2030, according to the research nonprofit Energy Action Network.

House legislators failed to override the governor’s veto by a single vote.

Longtime Sen. Mark MacDonald, D-Orange, promised attendees that night the Senate would try again to pass a clean heating bill. White and Heiden went further, saying they were optimistic a new bill would pass after the lessons learned from the May veto situation.

The tour began in Hartford on Nov. 28, then stopped in Bennington and St. Johnsbury before hitting Barre. Eight more stops are planned throughout the state in the coming weeks, including one in Burlington (Dec. 8) and one in Rutland (Dec. 9). When complete, the tour will have featured 12 events with several dozen officials in just over three weeks.

The tour is a part of a broader VPIRG campaign that began this past March — the Keep Vermont Cool Campaign — to motivate legislators to act on particular climate change legislation.

The event was filled with optimism, largely due to the midterms last month in which Vermont Democrats gained a veto-proof majority

But it wasn’t all cheerful, as presenters said Vermont has a shrinking window to take legislative action. They expressed concern about a vocal minority in the state that is doubtful or dismissive of climate change as a problem.

At one point, White did not mince words about those neglecting climate change’s impact: “It feels like gaslighting when people are not caring about (the) climate crisis.”

Apart from the heating bill, speakers touched on topics like subsidizing electrification, adopting heating alternatives and how to do so in an equitable manner.

Williams detailed how funding needs to be more equitable across the state, pointing out how Barre City might need more money compared to wealthier municipalities such as those in Chittenden County.

Perchlik suggested legislators examine creating another tax bracket among the state’s wealthiest residents to fund climate policies. White suggested reforming the gas tax to make it more favorable for low-income Vermonters.

The tour caps off an election season in which VPIRG says it spent more than $235,000 on “pro-climate candidates,” resulting in more than 120 “climate champions” being elected.

The Community News Service is part of the Reporting and Documentary Storytelling Program at the University of Vermont.

Image courtesy of Community News Service/Logan Soloman
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14 thoughts on “Climate tour makes a stop in Barre

  1. 15,000 years ago the ice sheets that covered much of North America melted away. How is that possible when there were no fossil fuel burning cars, coal and oil burning industrial plants, etc. around then? Practically no carbon footprint. Oh, it must be a natural cycle. These Progressives suffer from extreme hubris. Humans cannot destroy the planet. Only God can do that — and He will. Read the Bible. The planet will last as a place fit for human habitation until God destroys it in the Last Days. He did it once by flood. He will do so again, but humans cannot. ASnd we don’t know when, exactly. We do not have that kind of power. What the Progressives and Democrats are doing in the name of climate change is nothing but control and (dare I say it) Communism. They are also violating the 4th and 5th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Read them.

  2. I would like to see a chart with the true dollar cost for each of the climate initiatives this legislature wants to pass. Then I would like to see the cost per person put on the next ballot for the voters. I think people would be shocked to know how much they are planning on spending for every man woman and child in the state

  3. Phil Baruth told her his top legislative priority is climate policy now that he and his Progressives have screwed up everything else they’ve put their hands to – at a cost to the productive taxpayers. “need more money” is the Democrat rallying cry. “Subsidizing electrification” They need more money than they can reasonably extort from the tax base. “reforming the gas tax” to make it more affordable – and shift the tax burden to – where? Is this like making taxpayers liable for repayment of loans to which they were never party nor from which they never benefitted? Make sale of new petroleum fueled vehicles illegal? I’m still driving a forty five year old F250 pickup truck. That law is going to result in a lot of old vehicles remaining on the road and put used car prices out of reach of the economically disadvantaged (soon to be economically distressed) – who won’t have any money left after heating their homes anyway. ““It feels like gaslighting when people are not caring about (the) climate crisis” Or maybe it “feels like your priorities don’t consider citizens’ current and immediate problems or the disastrous Biden economy.” Fund research into solutions; don’t implement changes until a viable alternative exists. The future is electric, but we aren’t using the viable alternate reactor source, we don’t have the means of storing that much power (never mind safely) and we don’t have the distribution network. You’re trying to host a venison dinner before you’ve scouted for the deer. The people, your constituents, are the here and now problem. Prioritize! Your current solutions are not viable and many of them are destructive, economically and environmentally. And you do not know what the climate will do – I was here for the mid seventies for the impending ice age that didn’t happen. Go back and take a look at that.

    • Baruth is also into pushing gun-control; the road to h*ll is paved with the best of intentions not.

      When I was canvassing with a friend–I ran for a House seat–a gentleman invited us into his mini-mansion. He mentioned how Scott should switch parties and that Baruth was a friend. What is it about these well-to-do Dems in thinking their opinion(s) should supersede reality?

      • Pride

        It’s really the root problem for most everything.

        Add in the worship/love/quest for power and money, which is never satisfied, and here we are in the year of our Lord 2022…..

        Solution is quiet simplle but not easy.

        Get rid of pride, change our direction……

    • Yeah, if somebody would have bid $250,000 they could have bought 120 representatives….still a great deal.

      Maybe if they had been on ebay, where there was at least a free market we could have had a chance huh?

  4. Flatlanders who can’t chew bubble gum and walk at the same time are going to fix the climate that ain’t broken… What is their goal? To drive all generational Vermonter out of the state they can’t afford to live in for nothing being done except raising the price of everything? Vermont is the cleanest state in the Union and don’t need draconian climate hoax for nothing gained.
    Thanks for nothing you idiot voters who vote these fools in.

  5. I have no idea how these people sleep at night.
    People are freezing cold right now and really enduring some of the hardest times that we’ve seen in some 70 years or so.
    Young people have never seen things so bad..Eggs are over $5 a dozen and I’m seeing some packages of chicken are now near $20.
    And these people have the audacity to sit there and talk about this fake climate BS?
    It’s sickening beyond description.

  6. VPIRG is a lobbyist group, a “non-profit”

    Why do they get to run the state!? This again shows how corrupt and incestuous our state truly is, openly a lobbyist group set the entire agenda for our state, of which NOBODY voted for!

    Vermont is known as the easiest state for any lobbyist to get things done, we sell out cheaply and easily…

    They even brag about how they bought 120 candidates for $235,000…….and nobody raises an eyebrow. This should be the headlines.

    Bailint was BOUGHT
    120 representatives were BOUGHT

    Vermont for sale, cheap, cheap whores……we’ll blow and lobbyist for a dollar, just ask.

  7. It never ceases to amaze how mere humans think so much of themselves that a handful of zealots can actually control the climate of an entire planet some 8000 miles in diameter. This planet’s climate has been changing continually for thousands of years and will continue to do so independent of the meager efforts of man to try to influence it. The entire “sky is falling” perspective is based on nothing more than computer models and calculations that reflect the individual biases of those being paid to produce a desired outcome. Remember the flawed “Ferguson” computer model that predicted the progression and outcome of the COVID “pandemic”? How about those meteorological computer “models” that predict far better or worse outcomes than what really transpires? The John Kerrys, Greta Thunbergs, and other modern-day “chicken littles” are enjoying their 15 minutes of fame by peddling doomsday scenarios that play on the fears of those who would succumb to the hype.
    Any and all efforts to “battle climate change” amount to doing “you-know-what” in the oceans.
    Demonizing CO2 is not the answer. CO2 is a necessary ingredient for photosynthesis in trees and plants. The oxygen that we breathe is a beneficial by-product of that process. CO2 is not the poison that activists would have us believe. Do they each of us is a carbon-based life form? Does that me we are poison as well? Did they miss that science class?

    Rational thought and logic would dictate that we humans should pursue methods to adapt to natural changes rather than try to control them.

    • Circumference of earth is 24.901 miles, total area of Vermont 9,616 square miles and these morons believe they can affect the atmosphere and weather patterns of the earth from Vermont. This means these people are either very corrupt or so stupid they have to work overtime to keep it up. And apparently no one has told them that the earth rotates as it travels around the sun. Our weather is based on the location of Vermont during the earths trip around the sun. We know it as the winter’s low sun making it cold here as the sun is less visible to this section of earth during the winter months. If the earth did warm a few degrees, wouldn’t that mean that we need less fuel to heat the northern climates? Montpelier and the climate cult are void of any thinking skills. And in reality, corruption has a lot to do with those who will make tons of money off the useful idiots who worship and support the climate cult.

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