By Guy Page
Gov. Phil Scott doesn’t want the state of Vermont to “turn the screws” on Vermonters or “break their wills” when it comes to climate-change reduction policies. His position runs contrary to advice given to the Vermont Climate Council by a Massachusetts climate official.
Sharing Scott’s ‘carrot vs. stick’ view is Administration Secretary Suzanne Young, one of his representatives on the Vermont Climate Council, charged with planning and implementing policy to meet Vermont’s stringent carbon reduction goals, as required by last year’s Global Warming Solutions Act.
Vermont Daily asked at Tuesday’s press conference: “Secretary Young, you were on the January 25 Vermont Climate Council Zoom call when Massachusetts climate official David Ismay told you: ‘60% of our emissions that need to be reduced come from you, the person across the street, the senior on fixed income, right … there is no bad guy left, at least in Massachusetts, to point the finger at, to turn the screws on, and you know, to break their will, so they stop emitting. That’s you. We have to break your will.’ Should the Vermont Climate Council ‘turn the screws on’ and ‘break the will’ of Vermont citizens, including our seniors on fixed income? What do you make of that statement?”
Young responded: I did find that statement very interesting. I think the Vermont Climate Council will take a look at the science and the data … what works and what doesn’t work, what is affordable for Vermonters and what is fair and equitable.”
Young said that’s how she plans to lead the council as its chair. However, Young may find herself outvoted. She and the other Scott appointees are outnumbered by appointees from the Legislature and climate change activist organizations. A draft “process roadmap” presented at this morning’s council meeting called for consensus for all major decisions.
The governor clearly rejects the citizen thumbscrew approach to carbon reduction. “I think you’ve seen over the last four years, you’ve seen I support the carrot approach versus the stick approach … and I would apply that in this case,” he said.
Scott vetoed the Global Warming Solutions Act that established the Vermont Climate Council last year. His veto was overridden by the Legislature.
Gov. Scott also said he was unaware of alleged infractions against his quarantine policy. Vermont Daily asked: “Governor, you have been insistent that people entering Vermont must follow quarantine and testing guidelines. I’ve heard reports that people are flying in from Nevada for four-day ski trips, and also that people entering the U.S. illegally through the Swanton sector may be detained and then released, per the new administration’s directive. Are you on top of either of these situations and what’s being done about them?”
“I haven’t heard of either of those situations,” Scott said. “So I’m not aware of those.”
In terms of people entering Vermont without quarantining, “I believe it is happening, we’re trying to mitigate as best we can,” he said. As with the carbon reduction policies, he prefers the carrot to the stick, he said.
Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.