Global warming bill ‘unconstitutional,’ Scott says, predicting court fight

By Guy Page

Memo to the Vermont Legislature from Gov. Phil Scott regarding the Global Warming Solutions Act veto override: This ain’t over.

On Thursday the House overrode the governor’s veto 103-47. Every Republican voted no, but the GOP loss of seats in the 2018 election showed its hand when the united GOP caucus and a few stray independents and Democrats couldn’t find the 51 votes necessary to support Scott’s veto. The Senate is expected to follow suit next week. At Friday’s press conference, Cambridge native and News 5 reporter David Schneider asked Gov. Scott, “Is there room to fight this bill even if the Senate votes to override?” GWSA gives carbon-reduction decision-making to an unelected, appointed 22-member Climate Council. That will likely mean a constitutional challenge from “someone,” Scott said.

Guy Page

The Vermont Constitution prevents the legislative, executive and judicial branches from encroaching on each other’s powers. The Legislature can abdicate its own responsibilities, but not the governor’s, Scott said. “I feel the Legislature just wiped their hands of that because they won’t want to make the tough decisions over the next four years.”

Scott shared the thinking behind his veto decision in a Sept. 18 YouTube video:

“My biggest concern is that it’s unconstitutional. And in a big way the bill puts an unelected unaccountable council in charge of policy making, which means Vermonters will no longer have a say in the process and the council will be able to put their policy recommendations directly into law.

“Think about that – there would be 23 members, one third appointed by the governor and the other two thirds appointed by the legislature, and they would have the power to make laws. The Legislature, the elected representatives of the people, would not have to vote on it. The governor – not just me, any future governor – the person elected by Vermonters to provide executive oversight and administration, would not get to review it or decide whether to sign it or veto it.

“This is just bad policy that could lead to bad outcomes on this issue, and many others. It will most certainly lead to lawsuits.”

By contrast, Scott praised lawmakers for working with him on S.54, commercial cannabis. Asked by Erin Petenko of VTDigger if he would sign the bill, he credited the Legislature for addressing some of his concerns — unlike its lack of cooperation on H.688. For example, “any suggestion by the marijuana panel must come back to the Legislature. … That’s the way to do things. They’ve come a long ways. I’ll be considering that when I review the bill.”

Scott added he’s heard an “uptick” in concern from “some groups I hadn’t heard from before.” Farm and racial justice groups seek a veto because, they say, it favors large commercial grows owned by out-of-state, mostly white-owned businesses.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.

Image courtesy of Public domain

7 thoughts on “Global warming bill ‘unconstitutional,’ Scott says, predicting court fight

  1. “…in a big way the bill puts an unelected unaccountable council in charge of policy making, which means Vermonters will no longer have a say in the process and the council will be able to put their policy recommendations directly into law.”

    That’s just it, the dems and progressives/Borg don’t want Vermonter’s to have a say. They want to control every aspect of your lives as they see fit.

    Get used to it. Too many *voters* are okay with this. Even if they don’t realize it yet.

  2. Given the current makeup of the VT Supreme Court, I’d be surprised if they didn’t rubber-stamp this bill. The fact that the legislature, both House and Senate are giddy to have this passed and abdicate their constitutional duty is troubling. But, Hey- it’s an election year- do what gets them re-elected, not what is right for Vermont and their constituents.
    By the time H.688 is thru litigation, the damage will be done. We are still dealing with the damage Shumlin caused the health care system- and even though it was an abject failure, legislators still want to “try again”.

  3. The Vermont legislature better go back to the agenda drawing board. They will need to figure out how to drain the pockets of more taxpayers to cover the effects of western wild fires.

    From the article: Burning 90 million metric tons of carbon emissions over the course of a month is the equivalent of powering 23 coal-fired power stations for one year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies calculator.

    Somehow the Vermont legislature believes it can heal the planet, even if it’s policies destroy the finances of every human living in Vermont. Voting these people out of office is the only way to save yourself.

  4. California has had a GWSA law since 2006, which resulted in:

    – Rapid increases of electric rates and gasoline prices
    – Huge DUCK-curves, due to midday solar electricity bulges
    – Unwise/untimely/political/ideological shutdown of gas plants, which resulted in rolling blackouts, when, during a multi-day heat wave, wind and solar were minimal starting in late-afternoon/early-evening (DURING PEAK HOURS), with solar not reappearing until mid-morning THE NEXT DAY
    – A host of rules, regulations, taxes, fees and surcharges, and penalties to enforce behavior modification programs

    Fourteen years later, Vermont decided to copy the wonderful/nightmare experience of Calizuela, from which people are leaving by the thousands each week, with is very own GWSA.


    Vermont has a Comprehensive Energy Plan, CEP. The capital cost for implementing the CEP would be in excess of $1.0 billion/y for at least 33 years, per Energy Action Network annual report, not counting financing and replacements of short-life systems, such as EVs, heat pumps, battery storage systems, etc. See URLs.

    Vermont Gross Emissions, actual

    9.00 MMt in 2012
    9.99 MMt in 2015
    9.76 MMt in 2016
    9.41 MMt in 2017, estimated
    9.02 MMt in 2018, estimated

    See figs. 1 and 16 of URL

    See page 18 of URL

    US Gross Emissions

    About 6,700 MMt in 2018
    Vermont emissions are just a tiny fraction of US emissions.

    Turnkey Capital Cost to Implement GWSA

    Here is a brief summary of the turnkey capital cost of Phase 1, i.e., reduce CO2 by at least 26%.
    Vermont is lucky, because it has the 14-y, GWSA-experience of California as a guide.

    GWSA Financial Implications: Almost no one, including most legislators, have any idea regarding the reductions of CO2 and the turnkey capital cost to achieve them.
    This article has some background numbers regarding GWSA.
    This article includes an analysis of the Energy Action Network CO2-reduction plan for the 2020 – 2025 period

    GWSA-Required Gross Emissions Reductions and Cost

    Phase 1
    26%+ below 2005, i.e., (1 – 0.27) x 10.22 = 7.46 MMt, by Jan. 1, 2025, to “meet Paris”
    The Council would take about a year to develop plans, which means most of 2021 would have elapsed before any action.
    The actual CO2 reduction would be from 9.02, at end 2018 (latest numbers) to 7.46, Jan. 1, 2025, or 1.56 MMt, during the years 2022, 2023, and 2024, effectively a 3-y period.
    The turnkey capital cost would be about $6.32 billion
    The CO2 reduction appears to be a physical and financial impossibility.
    See table 1A and Note.

    NOTE: The EAN plan lists the measures required to reduce CO2 from 9.76, in 2016 to 7.46, in 2025, for a reduction of 2.28 MMt.
    That CO2 reduction has an estimated capital cost of at least $9.25 billion. See table 1
    The estimated capital cost of Phase 1 would be about 1.56/2.28 x $9.25 billion = $6.32 billion.

    Phase 2
    40%+ below 1990, i.e., (1 – 0.40) x 8.59 = 5.15 MMt, by Jan. 1, 2030
    The CO2 reduction would be 7.46, Jan 1, 2025 – 5.15, Jan. 1, 2030 = 2.31 MMt, during the 5-y period

    Phase 3
    80%+ below 1990, i.e., (1 – 0.80) x 8.59 = 1.72 MMt, by January 1, 2050
    The CO2 reduction would be 5.15, Jan. 1, 2030 – 1.72, Jan. 1 2050 = 3.43 MMt, during the 20-y period

    GWSA 23-Member Council

    The Council likely would be the sole decider how hundreds of millions of $dollars would be spent, each year, for decades, with no relief ever, because:

    The Council make-up would include:

    1) Eight Government Secretaries and Commissioners
    2) Eight members appointed by the Speaker of the House
    3) Seven members appointed by the “Committee on Committees”, C of C
    The members of the C of C are the Lt Governor, Senate president pro tem, and a “third member” elected by the Senate
    See URL

    The Governor’s Secretary of Administration would be the Chairman.
    He/she has the power to call meetings.
    If he/she delays calling meetings, any 12 of 23 members could call a meeting.

    NOTE: The Governor would have only 8 votes, plus may be a few more, but likely not 5, i.e., the Governor could not override the 12 members calling a meeting.

    The action sequence would be as follows:

    Council would approve plans.
    VT Agency of Natural Resources, ANR, would write rules to implement plans,
    Council would approve rules
    Approved rules sent to the Governor’s Interagency Committee on Administrative Rules, ICAR
    ICAR is composed of Governor Appointees
    ICAR can reject the rules, i.e., the Governor can stop the process.

    What happens next likely would be lawsuits
    Any entity, such as the Conservation Law Foundation, could sue the state, if Council decisions would not reduce CO2 in accordance with GSWA/CEP goals.

    Legislators and Other Vermonters Disenfranchised

    If mandated goals are not attained, there would be mandated financial penalties, prohibitions (you shall do this; you shall not do that), fees and surcharges
    If the Council would decide to impose the equivalent of a carbon tax, so be it.

    Legislators would not be allowed to vote on any plan, or any proposed rules.
    Legislators would not be voting on GWSA-related financial penalties, prohibitions, and increases in fees and surcharges.
    Legislators, and the people who voted for them, would be disenfranchised.
    Legislators would be “off-the-hook”.

    GWSA Likely is Unconstitutional

    On the face of it, GWSA has to be unconstitutional, because the Governor, and his administration, and Legislators, appear to have no effective say in any Council decisions.
    Such extremism could only come about due to the present, veto-proof control by Dem/Progs.
    This is Centralized Command and Control.
    It has nothing to do with Democracy.

    • Every one should contact their Senators
      If two or three of them change their minds, the veto would not be overridden
      Decades of grief inflicted on Vermonters would be avoided.
      Read the URLs in my comment to become more fully informed

  5. Take it to the courts, lets see who follows the Constitution !!

    Vermonter’s need to wake up, this Liberal cancer we have in the state
    house is killing the state………. Vote the inept fools out.

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