By David Flemming
Vermont’s Climate Action Plan to sharply reduce carbon dioxide emissions would supposedly combat Climate Change. It’s the yearlong product of the Vermont Climate Council created by the “Global Warming Solutions Act” of 2020 — passed over Gov. Phil Scott’s veto. The plan, due for public release later this year, likely will never be voted on by your representatives in the State Legislature.
It will burden every Vermont motorist, every business, every city and town and every school and hospital with new regulations, mandates, and taxes. It will likely cripple our economy struggling to come out of the painful years of COVID — and send you the bill.
Here’s a warning from Public Service Department Commissioner June Tierney, one of the Climate Council’s statutory members: “I don’t think Vermonters understand the Mack truck that coming at them. … They don’t understand how this is going to impact their lives and what it’s going to cost.” (After attending a Council meeting October 19, 2021)
Here’s what the Climate Action Plan will mean for you
- Every motorist and every truck driver will face a sharply increased gas and diesel tax – to make gasoline and diesel fuel unaffordable – on top of the $3.40 a gallon price of motor fuel now. That’s the target of the Plan’s multistate Transportation Climate Initiative. You’ll pay $20 million a year – for starters. Vermont will get some of that back – but you won’t. It will be spent on other parts of the Climate Action Plan. This crippling tax will not even be voted on by the Legislature, which is blatantly unconstitutional.
- No more natural gas, heating oil, and propane for cooking (after 2030), or for water heating (after 2035) or home heating (after 2040). You will be responsible for buying new kitchen ranges, hot water equipment, and home heating systems.
- No more gasoline and diesel powered on-road vehicles. You won’t be able to buy or register a new gasoline or on-road diesel vehicle after 2032.
- Huge subsidies to get people to buy electric cars and trucks. There are only 5,000 on the road now. The subsidies aim to put 42,000 EVs on the road by 2025 – only four years away. The State will pay for hundreds or even thousands of charging stations to address range anxiety and charging time trauma. (You won’t like it when your EV slows to a crawl in a below zero winter night.) And of course, EVs pay zero motor fuel tax – they ride free on our highways and bridges.
- Weatherization of 120,000 more homes by 2030, at a cost of $10,000 per home (total: $1.2 billion.) Have he homeowners pay for it out of the heating savings? Of course not. Your taxes will pay for all of it.
- Say goodbye to half of Vermont’/s cows. They emit methane from both ends, and our goal is to sharply reduce emissions from whatever source.
- The Plan requires Vermonters to eliminate 80% of their current use of gasoline, diesel, natural gas, home heating oil and propane by 2050 – and replace it with… what?
- Everything must be electrified. But heavily subsidized wind turbines and solar electricity farms will never generate enough to meet the demand. Whether our power grid can transmit that huge amount of electricity shipped in from somewhere else is extremely doubtful. Meanwhile, the utilities are forced to buy power from net metered solar panels at or near the retail cost of power, leaving other electricity consumers to pay the utility’s cost of poles, wires, maintenance, and profits.
- And if we fall behind in emissions reductions starting in 2025, what happens? A group like the Conservation Law Foundation is authorized to sue the State , to get a judge to force the State to take even more drastic action – more regulations, mandates, subsidies and taxes. (CLF did just that, and won, under the Global Warming Solutions Act in Massachusetts.) The law allows a judge to order the State to pay part or all of the legal costs of plaintiffs suing the State, that taxpayers will have to pay along with paying the Attorney General to defend the State.
- Will all these regulations, mandates and new taxes have any detectable effect on “climate change? No. They will just trumpet to the world the sacrifices Vermonters are willing to endure to be able to crow about how they fought against the menace of climate change. How much is that worth to the ordinary Vermonter?
David Flemming is a policy analyst for the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission.