Guy Page: Vermont, the Declarative Government State

By Guy Page

Sen. John Kennedy (R-Louisiana) could have been talking about Vermont’s Democratic legislature when he declared that today’s Democrats prefer “Declarative Government.”

Here’s what Kennedy told Fox’s Tucker Carlson Monday night:

“Many of my Democratic colleagues because they don’t believe — well, let me put it in a positive way — they believe in Declarative Government, as opposed to a representative government. Not all of them, but many of them. In a representative government, the people control policy through their elected representatives. In Declarative Government, which we’ve been moving toward, policy is made by unelected judges and unelected members of the administrative state. Another word for bureaucrats.”

Guy Page

Sept. 17, the Democratic caucus of the Vermont Legislature took a big step towards Declarative Government. It overrode Gov. Phil Scott’s veto of H.688, the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA). Only two House Democrats voted no – Notte of Rutland and Tully of Springfield. See how House lawmakers voted here.

At the core of the GWSA is an appointed 23-person Climate Council charged with mandating 40% carbon emissions reduction (below 1990 levels) by 2030. Failure will result in a lawsuit filed against the State of Vermont by one or a combination of Vermont’s many alphabet environmental groups (VPIRG, CLF, etc.). These groups receive significant direct and indirect funding from the renewable power industry, which would benefit economically if fossil-fuel competition suffers.

The Vermont Legislature designed the Climate Council to be the epitome of Declarative Government. Once appointed, the Climate Council is empowered to work independently of both the Legislature and the Executive Branch. Effectively ban snowmobiles, ATV’s? Get rid of oil-burning furnaces? You don’t need our permission, the Legislature said. ‘Alas,’ the lawmakers could tell aggrieved constituents, ‘our hands are tied. The Council’s gonna do what the council’s gonna do.’

If Vermonters don’t want this exercise in Declarative Government, what can they do? Repeal the law. But first, the 100-plus lawmakers who overrode the veto must either change their minds, or be exchanged.

Another option is a court challenge, possibly led by our current governor. “My biggest concern is that it’s unconstitutional,” Gov Phil Scott explained Sept. 18. “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,” Scott continued. “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.”

There’s almost no limit to what a Climate Council can do, Rob Roper of the Ethan Allen Institute wrote Sept. 25:

“When Vermont’s Global Warming Solutions Act was being debated on the House floor, one member asked Rep. Tim Briglin (D-Thetford), chair of the committee reporting the bill, if under the GWSA the Agency of Natural Resources would have the ability to ban the internal combustion engine. Briglin said “yes,” but that it wasn’t likely. Well, California, a state with its own GWSA demanding greenhouse gas reductions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 – same as Vermont — just announced it would be banning the sale of internal combustion engine cars and trucks by 2035.”

At least California legislators had the chutzpah to vote yes or no. California may be leading the nation in carbon reduction legislation, but Vermont appears poised to be the national leader in greenhouse gas reduction by Declarative Government. The People’s House Vermont’s appears to be re-imagining itself as a Climate Electoral College. It won’t actually make the decisions, but it will pick the executives who do.

If this Legislature will surrender its powers in the name of climate change, what’s next? Will tough decisions like limiting gun and ammo ownership, decriminalizing statutory rape, providing free housing for all, be next? We citizens of this Brave New World Little State will just have to wait and see. Declarative Government does what it thinks best. It doesn’t need our permission.

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

Image courtesy of Public domain

3 thoughts on “Guy Page: Vermont, the Declarative Government State

  1. 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.

    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.

    The EAN plan (see below) 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.

    Unfortunately, the EAN plan is based on flawed analyses, as shown below.
    EAN would need many more heat pumps and electric vehicles to achieve its CO2 reductions
    The turnkey capital cost would increase to at least $13.5 billion. See table 1A
    Phase 1 capital cost would increase to 1.56/2.28 x $13.5 billion = $9.24 billion, during the years 2022, 2023, and 2024, effectively a 3-y period.

    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

  2. This article cites the symbiotic relationship that exists between the renewable energy industry and its beneficiaries, VPRIG and CLF. The renewable energy industry pumps money into VPRIG and CLF and in turn they lobby for programs that advance the interests of their beneficiaries before The Vermont Legislature………A case in point……The Global Warming Solutions Act.

    Here’s a series of questions and answers arising from the relationship between the renewable energy industry, VPRIG and CLF:

    Question: What do you think happens to the prices of industrial wind and solar in the future when GWSA goals are not met and the State is sued by VPRIG and CLF?

    Answer: Intense pressure will be placed on the State to significantly increase wind and solar development.

    Question: What happens when demand for wind and solar power or any product rapidly and dramatically increases?

    Answer: Prices dramatically and significantly increase to meet targets set by the GWSA and
    mandated by the courts all brought about by law suits initiates by VPRIG and CLF.

    Question: When the prices rapidly and dramatically increase…….Who benefits and who pays?

    Answer: The renewable energy industry benefits from higher prices……… And you along with all other Vermonters pay and pay and pay…………and pay.

    Question: What will the Climate Council of 23 do to avoid this coming mess?

    Answer: If the actions of the Legislature in passing the GWSA can be used a guide…….The Council of 23 will do nothing.

    Question: Instead of doing nothing, what must the Council of 23 do to protect Vermonters?

    Answer: Set a cap on industrial wind and solar prices equal to or no greater than the market price of hydro and nuclear power.

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