Keelan: How I can help the Vermont Climate Council

By Don Keelan

On Oct. 6, I received an email invitation from the Vermont Legislative Climate Solutions Caucus to submit a letter requesting that I be considered a member of the newly appointed Vermont Climate Council.

The email was specific: “contact my office (Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman) with a cover letter expressing your interest, your related experience, and why you would like to serve. Please also supply one reference.” The time frame was quite short — 5 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 8.

I did not respond to the request because I believe I can be more useful to the 23-member council in other ways.

Once fully staffed, the council has a tight time frame given to it by the Legislature (which overcame Gov. Phil Scott’s veto) to have Vermont free of its dependence on fossil fuels by 2050, if not sooner.

Don Keelan

In following the development and final adoption of the legislation that created the Vermont Climate Council (H.688), I did not see any ideas, suggestions, or plans on what will happen to the tens of thousands of oil storage tanks that are now in the basements of Vermont homes. Added to this are the propane tanks that many use, which has become a major substitute for oil and kerosene in recent years.

From information obtained from a reliable fossil fuel distribution expert, approximately 43% of Vermont’s 110,700 residences (47,600), along with 42,000 other residences, are currently heated with oil and propane gas. Therefore, if it is decreed by the council, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and the Legislature that fossil fuels were be discontinued as heating fuel, there would be be disposals of quite a few oil and propane tanks.

Recognizing this, I have decided that of my 17-acre parcel of land in Arlington, where my wife and I have lived since 1986, 10 acres can be designated to help the council with the potential problem of fuel tank disposal.

My idea would be to provide an orderly, clean, and environmentally accepted site for the home heating fuel tanks’ disposal — but only oil tanks for the time being.

Of course, I will require approval for this venture by filing with the Arlington Planning Commission a site plan showing the tank dispersal locations and screening from Vermont Route 313 West. This can be easily accommodated by planting a mature line of arborvitaes, balsam and fraser firs.

When you lay a 275-gallon home heating oil tank on its side, it measures 43 inches across and 60 inches in length (2 feet in height). If I provide a 24-inch clearance buffer around each tank, an individual tank will require 59 square feet of space.

So how many separate tanks will take up one acre of land? The answer is 738 (43,560 divided by 59). If I stacked the tanks six high per pallet, each pallet of tanks would be about 12 feet in height. An acre will accommodate 4,428 tanks.

By designating 10 acres (my former hayfield), I will accommodate 44,280 oil tanks (4,428 tanks times 10 acres).

For the present, I will not consider the disposal solution for the thousands of propane tanks, oil/propane fuel delivery truck tanks, or the thousands of linear feet of piping that will no longer be necessary.

I can only assume that all of Vermont’s gas station pumps will be converted into electric charging stations and that station tanks will remain in the ground. What happens to the 10,000-gallon gasoline delivery trucks? I just don’t know.

What could really save me from filing a site plan to obtain approval for the tank disposal field would be if the Vermont Climate Council mandates that all heating fuel be derived from biodiesel, more specifically biodiesel refined from soy crops.

If there is to be such a conversion, maybe I should nix the idea of a tank disposal field for my 10 acres and grow a soy crop?

Don Keelan writes a bi-weekly column and lives in Arlington, Vermont.

Image courtesy of Vermont Fuel Dealers Association

12 thoughts on “Keelan: How I can help the Vermont Climate Council

  1. Well if things worked the way they are presumed to, they could just stop the geoengineering, and it would warm up and we would live in a tropical climate, and heating fuel would no longer be a concern!
    As Mother Nature said to me, “let it be”. It’s a win-win!

  2. Would you accept only tanks delivered to Arlington by horses? Or on human drawn conveyances?

    Where does all this mystical tripling, “quadrippling” of magic electric capacity come from?
    Maybe we can create an Ozone hole to let in more sun onto our solar arrays,
    for a full 8 hours of electric service in the winter .

    • Doug,

      During WW ll, we had no electric service during much of the winter of 1944/1945, courtesy of the Germans who had shipped our fuel to Germany.

      We obtained water from fire hydrants that were turned on 2 times per week, by the Germans.

      We had little fuel to keep warm, so all 5 of us lived in one room of the house.

      We had potato peel pie for dinner, cabbage, carrots, etc., from our kitchen garden, which had to be guarded 24/7.

      Each day a truck would come by to collect the dead for burial in a large trench; no burial boxes.

      • Stunning post..
        Young people today have no idea what they are getting us into when they vote for Socialism..
        We could easily find ourselves in this same situation if Bernie and Biden had their way.
        The vision these people have is no utopia at all.. it’s deep poverty and a lot of head games so that the people don’t revolt- they will live that way thinking they are saving the planet.. sick stuff.

    • Or maybe we can wake up some peckerheads to the reality of geoengineering, that being the main cause of “global warming”.

  3. I have a better idea.
    Why doesn’t everyone with an old oil barrel just make a BBQ grill out of them and have a big shin dig every weekend for all their friends and neighbors in need of good food?

    You can get some people in town to grow some chickens..others can make some side dishes.
    Someone can get the band together, get the brewery involved.
    The people with the big grill can do the cooking.. and everyone can eat and have some fun.

    THIS is how we solve problems us here, did people forget all of this?

    • Laura,

      The downer would be a state mask enforcer, courtesy of the GWSA 23-member Council, would show up at the party. He would:

      Take pictures of people not wearing a mask for the state data bank
      Fine each of them $50
      Confiscate all the food and drink.

      The food and drink would be used fertilizer to grow soy crops for biofuel to replace about 330 million gallons of gasoline per year consumed by Vermonters, which would require about 100% of the Vermont’s land cropland to be in soybeans.

      NOTE: It likely would require more cropland. I will have an answer tomorrow.

      • Here is my cropland area answer

        B100 Replacing Gasoline:

        IOWA, a state ideally suited for growing soybeans, has a yield of about 76 gal of biofuel-100/acre.

        A B100 gallon has a heating value of about 128,000 Btu.

        Vermont consumes about 320 million gallons of gasoline and 60 million gallons of on-road diesel per year.

        A gasoline gallon (90% gasoline/10% ethanol) has a heating value of about 120,400 Btu

        Vermont would need 320,000,000 x 120,400/128,000 x 1 acre/76 gal of B100 = 396,052 acres in soybeans, JUST FOR GASOLINE

        Vermont would have yields much less than IOWA, i.e., even more acreage would be required.

        Vermont’s total land area is about 5.9 million acres.
        About 1.25 million acres (21%) are classified as farmland.
        Of those, about 536,052 acres are in cropland, and 446,020 acres are harvested.
        This leaves about 90,032 acre of unused/underutilized cropland that potentially could be available for biofuel production.

        If 50,000 of the 90,032 acres were planted in soybeans, Vermont, with much less ideal conditions than Iowa, theoretically could EXPENSIVELY produce about 50,000 x 60 gal/acre = 3 million gallon of B100, i.e., almost all of the B100 would be imported from out-of-state and/or foreign countries. See page 358 of URL

        • I don’t Willem about all those soybeans. I’m much more excited about chickens than soybeans.. And I sure do see some Homeschooling projects in this.

          Forgive me for maybe over simplifying the problem.. but being from very entrepreneurial NH, I see these used oil barrels as nothing but opportunity- not a problems.

          People can gather up these oil barrels and make these community BBQ grills out of them. There are many lessons in that project alone for people and the kids.
          You can move some of that land over into growing chickens and all these food crops needed to just plain feed people. Move back onto subsistence farming. Think more community and less state wide and certainly not global.
          Worry about feeding your own people around you. If everyone felt this way, we’d all be fed and probably healthier and in a better frame of mind.

          On Saturday nights, everyone in town gathers up and has a big meal together cooked up on a big row of these old oil barrels.
          Wouldn’t you love it if your old oil barrel was now feeding 25 people in town on a Saturday night?
          This is how we heal, grow and strengthen our community, problem solve and come up with some new outta the box solutions. And we all do this as a community eating together like a big family working out problems.

          Vermont needs some new ideas, you could be the Chicken BBQ Capital of the country.
          Let me know when it’s time to go, I did win a trophy on my peachy chicken thunder thighs in the local BBQ contest once. I know my way around an old oil barrel grill.

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