John LaBarge: Follow the money on the Affordable Heat Act

This commentary is by John LaBarge, of Grand Isle. He is a former state representative and House Republican leader.

Vermont Democrats and Progressives are obsessed with the implementation of the Global Warming Solution Act they passed four years ago. Since Gov. Phil Scott’s veto of the Clean Heat Standard Bill during the last legislative session, the majority’s obsession in passing the act has increased. Back in Montpelier this year and in veto-proof control, the Democrats and Progressives have decided to give the failed bill a new name and find a way to put what appears to be a tax plus mandates on the backs of fuel suppliers.

John Labarge

John Labarge

This year legislators changed the name of the vetoed “Clean Heat Standard” to the “Affordable Heat Act.” They’re trying to make it more palatable to Vermonters and hoping Vermonters will accept it because it impacts the fuel suppliers not the consumers, wink, wink.

The bill would force fossil fuel dealers to purchase clean heat credits, the cost of which will be passed on to their customers, thereby raising the cost to heat our homes. Those companies selling non-carbon fuel based clean energy heating products will receive the money from the purchased clean heat credits.

Businesses much favored by the Democrats and Progressives — those that install electric heat pumps, winterize homes, sell solar panels, invest in wind generation, electric vehicles etc. — will be on the receiving end of money from the purchase of the clean heat credits. This all sounds confusing to most people and it’s meant to. The bottom line is, this is merely a thinly veiled tax on fuel consumers.

So, the question is, why are legislators so obsessed with forcing people off carbon based fuels to electricity or wood etc. The answer they would say is obvious. We have to reduce our carbon foot print in order to save our planet. This is nice but no matter how much they tax Vermonters and mandate changes, Vermont will have no impact on the total global carbon load.

Here are some facts. Vermont ranks 51 in the nation in carbon emissions, producing little more than 5 tons of carbon per year. A recent study by the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature stated India produces 2.46 billion (with a “b”) metric tons of carbon a year or 6.8% of the total global emissions. According to the Institute for Energy, China’s carbon emissions in 2021 were expected to increase by 4 percent to 11.1 billion metric tons and that, is expected to increase to 36.4 billion tons as China continues investing in coal fired power plants.

Sen. Chris Bray in an interview stated reducing Vermont emissions is straight forward physics. The top three emissions generators are transportation at 40%; heating at around 34%; and agriculture at about 16%.”

So why can’t the Senator Bray understand the straight forward physics that just two countries alone with emissions totaling more than 13 billion tons per year now and up to 37 billion tons per year in just a couple of years, will instantly erase whatever reduction Vermont achieves. Still, he will vote to fiscally squeeze more from Vermonters who own gas powered cars and trucks, heat their homes and cook with oil or propane or natural gas, or plow our fields for hay or and grow our food?

There is no way Vermont on our own will save our planet or reduce the global carbon load, period! All the convoluted pieces of legislation will accomplish is inflicting an even higher level of unaffordability to live here in Vermont.

Vermonters by heart are environmentalists and readily admit the climate is changing and thousands of us are currently trying to do the right thing at a pace they can afford. We honestly get the problem and are moving in the right direction and don’t need politicians to socially manipulate us through taxation, mandates and product banning. We don’t need to be forced, to move to urban settings or change how get to work, how we heat our homes, what appliances we use or even what kind of lawn mowers, chain saws, snow blowers etc. we must purchase because they will ban the use of small gas engine tools along with a ban on gas or diesel automobiles.

So why this constant and relentless push to past the Affordable Heat Act and more? It’s really not about saving our planet because it’s obvious Vermont will have no impact on reducing global carbon loading even if we achieve zero emissions.

Here’s what I think this is all really about: Over 25 special interest groups coordinating in Vermont, working to pass all kinds of legislation banning, mandating or heavily taxing carbon based fuels just to achieve their political agendas. Vermont is politically an easy target and quite easily manipulated by the onslaught of special interest groups.

These groups and lobbyists practically live in the statehouse during a legislative session. Off season, they recruit and train other activists in Vermont to run for local and state political positions. Once they have found their candidate they heavily fund and support getting them elected to help fulfill their agendas. Passing their legislation assures more power for these groups by having more people contribute to their lobbying organizations.

So, the reason to immediately pass expensive, radical environmental bills and put the financial squeeze on low and middle income working Vermonters comes downs to this. Follow the money, follow the money, follow the money.

Images courtesy of Public domain and John Labarge

4 thoughts on “John LaBarge: Follow the money on the Affordable Heat Act

  1. How about having a “voluntary contribution” for the global warming fund, on every utility bill.
    Those who passionately believe in “global warming” can donate, to reduce it, somehow.
    The rest of us can keep our money, sleep with a clear conscience, and be happy those schmucks think they are saving the world. But they will never leave us alone, no, that’s not the point, is it?

  2. I am glad a former insider is telling it like it is.
    A sordid, screw-all-Vermonters picture it is.

  3. The fuel dealers could give the legislators a preview of the ramifications of the affordable heat act…..Every fuel dealer refuses to deliver to these people. This is a drastic measure, but, what about the drastic measures they are putting on Vermonters? What they need is the proverbial smack beside the head to bring them to the table of compromise. The reason these ideologues continue to shove this crap down our throats is nobody with the power fights back. Why? It’s easier. Somebody with the knowledge and political power needs to step up and make a drastic move to stop this insanity. Stop with the waffling and show some willingness to sacrifice for the freedoms that the founders gave us.

  4. Yup, it’s frustratingly stupid to think the commies bankrupting Vt’ers for zero emissions will change anything globally when China is continuing to build coal fired plants. The minuscule amount we would save would hardly register on the scale, and probably could even be accomplished by planting more trees instead of building fields of solar panels. Like the warming hoax is making money for the few the same can be said of the new racism hoax. Just 2 of the leftist money scams we can do without.

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