Keelan: Let’s be real bold

By Don Keelan

Ben Edgerly Walsh, writing for the Vermont Public Interest Research Group’s July 3rd newsletter, made the following pronouncement: “Vermont has not just fallen behind neighboring states, we’ve failed miserably in meeting our own climate commitments.”

What Walsh means is that pollution in Vermont has increased by 16% since 1990 and 10% in just the last two years. This is occurring at a time when the state’s goal was to be 26% to 28% below the 2005 levels by 2025, thus keeping in line with the Paris Climate Accord. Wow, we are in real trouble and something drastic needs to be done soon.

Don Keelan

As a matter of fact, Mr. Walsh uses similar language: “Together we will fight for – and achieve –the bold legislative action needed to make Vermont a true leader in the fight against climate change.”

If in fact “bold action” is what is required, then let me suggest some actions that should be adopted and phased in so Vermont can meet its air pollution objectives by 2025.

In the first year (2021), there should be a ban on all gas-operated private and commercially operated landscaping equipment. This means that there would be no usage of weed whackers, chainsaws, leaf-blowers, hedge trimmers, lawn mowers – hand pushed or rider. Landscaping work will be accomplished through the use of scythes, sickles and push reel lawnmowers.

Of course, a major effort must be developed in 2020 to get these antique implements back in use. However, all electrically or battery-operated tools will still be allowed.

Locally appointed climate control enforcement officers will be charged with making sure that property owners are in full compliance with the new rules. Having neighbors report any infractions will be encouraged.

The second year, 2022, there will be a complete ban on gas-operated snowmobiles, dirt bikes, and ATVs except for usage by first responders in emergency situations. This ban will also apply to all gas-operated motor boats that frequent Vermont waterways. Engines (motors) on sail boats will continue to be allowed, but only for entering and exiting a docking facility.

Vermont’s racing speedway facilities will cease to operate beginning in year 2023. This means that there will no longer be drag and or car racing allowed, such as what takes place at Thunder Road in Barre or the state fair in Rutland. There will also be a discontinuance of all dirt bike racing at organized speedways or in Vermont’s off-road areas.

Because the Vermont logging industry is a significant factor in Vermont’s economy, it will be given more time to adjust to the new climate control measures. Therefore, in 2024, the industry will no longer be allowed to use gas-operated chainsaws or skidders in Vermont woods. Two-man buck saws, axes, and where necessary, horses or oxen will be utilized.

However, there is one area that could bring the percentage goals into the target range much sooner.

Vermont has over 10,000 second homes and roughly 13 to 15 million annual visitors – tourists, skiers, and others. It would be safe to say that about 75 % drive to Vermont and usually in large SUVs. Therefore, if VPIRG really wishes to take “bold action,” it should demand that the Legislature adopt regulations in 2025 that would restrict the number of tourist and second homeowners who could drive into Vermont to 1960/70’s levels.

This is not as far-fetched as it sounds. There are sensitive tourist sites throughout the world that have such restrictions. This suggestion could be mitigated by having ample public transportation sites set up at various Vermont border locations to bring tourists and second home owners to their destinations. Presently, commercial tourist buses do this.

Something might very well be going on with the change in climate. However, Vermont can’t solve the problem and it would be interesting to see how far some wish to control our lives in attempting to do so. It would be helpful to hear what the code words “bold action” really mean.

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

Image courtesy of Bruce Parker/TNR

7 thoughts on “Keelan: Let’s be real bold

  1. My husband says he would be happy to help. Just allow him to preform a practial live drivers test for every Vermont driver. That will reduce the #of drivers exponentially. Problem sovled!

  2. You must remember. Even if you like what the Socialist Progressives say………..

    If you VOTE for them you are making them Czars, regulators, Making every choice “For You”.
    This defines a dictatorship, pure and simple.

    They will take your money and do ‘good” with it, their ‘good’.
    If you resist when they come for you, you will be fined, shamed, imprisoned.

    If you like what they say, then do what they demand Privately – as Your choice.,
    BUT for the sake of Liberty, Never Vote for them — A Dictatorship Trap

  3. Just put the snowplows on the front a Prius and we’ll have plow,vehicles that get 50 mpg! How come Vermonters aren’t adopting these common sense ideas! They can surely push those plows in mud season and on our highways! Why hasn’t Vermont made this bold transition? What’s the hold up??????

  4. How come they never talk about this? 🙂

    We’d also have to talk about the built in carbon foot print, paved roads, iron, steel, asphalt roofs, vinyl siding, anything plastic, ANYTHING PLASTIC!


    But if they can flip our little republic to a socialist utopia, life will be perfect, all problems solved. Silly Republicans, freedom, science and the constitution are so, passé.

  5. Dear Mr. Keelan,

    Please let me humbly offer to help you with the interpretation of the words “bold action” in the context that Mr. Walsh meant them. They simply mean MORE MONEY. You’re welcome. Glad to help.
    Larry Johnson
    Shaftsbury, VT

  6. Bold action means a CARBON TAX to be paid by already struggling Joe and Jane Vermont Worker.

    I would impose a tax on all luxury goods, watches, clothes, stereos, TVs, private planes, private yachts, airline travel, cruise line fairies, etc. The list is long.
    It would bring in oodles of money, that should be 100% distributed to taxpayers in the form of a percent reduction of income taxes.
    That way those who pay the taxes get the refund.

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