Keelan: The posse is formed, so what’s next?

By Don Keelan

A 23-member posse galloped into being a week before the elections and held its organizational meeting Nov. 20

The “posse” is the creature of the recently passed Vermont legislation, the Global Warming Solutions Act, which survived Gov. Phil Scott’s veto.

The legislation allows the Speaker of the House of Representatives to appoint to the posse eight members; the Lieutenant Governor seven; and the Governor another eight with one of his appointments as the Vermont Climate Council’s Chair.

Don Keelan

The former two leaders wasted no time in doing so. On the other hand, the Governor appointed almost all of his senior cabinet members to the Council.

Several interesting events occurred since the council member appointments. The speaker, president pro tempore of the Senate, and the lieutenant governor will no longer be in office beginning Jan. 1. The electorate was unsympathetic to them.

What is also interesting, and expected, is that not one member of the posse is from Southwestern Vermont.

The term posse is quite fitting with its definition of “a force with legal authority.”

Make no mistake; the council will take full advantage of such authority.

To begin with the posse has until Dec. 1, 2021, to submit a list of regulations to the Agency of Natural Resources on how it plans to have Vermont’s carbon gas emissions reduced by 26 percent no later than 2025.

It has been noted that this reduction could equate to the elimination of 50,000 residential fossil fuel heating units along with 130,000 automobiles.

Let’s be practical for a moment and use some common sense. Just how would such a draconian measure ever be allowed? This poorly conceived deadline, completely lacking in transparency, should, at a minimum, be postponed if not discarded. At this writing, Vermonters are sick with fear.

And how can it be that the climate extremists do not see this? Another severe cluster of Covid-19 is working its way around Vermont: Vermonters are urged to cancel holiday vacations and family visits; many wonder if their children will continue in school; or if they will have employment.

Additionally, hundreds of small businesses question if there will be winter tourism after witnessing a much less-than-desirable summer and fall foliage season.

If Vermont waits to address the reduction of gas emissions for another year, so be it. It will not make an iota of difference to the world’s effort to reduce such emissions. But, it will make life for tens of thousands of Vermonters less stressful.

The legislature is adding stress factors by mandating that the VCC adopt, within the next four years, measures that will either take funds from those who use fossil fuels or, worse, mandate them to discontinue fossil fuel equipment/vehicles/heating elements.

If there is a bright spot, it is that Gov. Scott appointed his eight senior cabinet officials to the Council. Hopefully, they will be too busy working on healthcare, education, the economy, and the pandemic to waste time attending fruitless Council meetings.

It is no coincidence that all three state leaders who campaigned vigorously for the VCC, Zuckerman, Mitzi Johnson and Tim Ashe, were rejected by the voters.

On the other hand, Scott captured the largest vote in Vermont’s history: the climate extremists and their allied lobbyists need to recognize what Vermonters are telling them, back-off for now.

Scott, while the State of Vermont is still operating under a State of Emergency, kindly disband the posse. It has no constructive purpose at this time and only adds stress to an already over-whelmed population. It was recently noted in the press that you might bring legal action in the courts for this purpose.

Please, do so quickly.

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

Image courtesy of Bruce Parker/TNR

7 thoughts on “Keelan: The posse is formed, so what’s next?

  1. Over the years Willem Post has repeatedly laid out the staggering costs associated with programs aimed at mitigating climate change………These numbers cannot be ignored by the GWSA Council of “Experts” and must be understood and locked in if GWSA is to go forward.

    If the Council doesn’t believe Willem’s numbers, it is incumbent on them to independently research the financial and economic implications and requirements of GWSA and provide their findings in the first paragraph of the Executive Summary of the final report……It’s that important.

    Additionally, in the body of the report, the annual costs of implementing the GWSA must be fully defined and detailed along with the stipulation that any one can sue the state to halt the GWSA if the cost targets are not met each year.

    GWSA represents a massive and costly business endeavor that Vermont’s citizens will ultimately be required to pay for, all in pursuit of goals (measurable climate change mitigation) that may never be achievable. So let’s treat this like a serious business plan and carefully define measurable objectives and costs up front.

    If such a fundamental business practice cannot be achieved, close down GWSA before it starts…….No need to go on and waste hundreds of millions of dollars like Gov. Shumlin did on single payer before pulling the plug.

    Willem, you have put the State on notice with your economic and financial analysis…….Your work cannot and would not be ignored by responsible business planners…….They must now be held accountable as they go forward.



    CEP Financial Implications: Almost no one, including most legislators, have any idea regarding the reductions of CO2 and the turnkey capital cost to achieve them.

    Here is a brief summary of the turnkey capital cost of Phase 1, i.e., reduce CO2 by at least 26% below 2005
    The below CO2 emissions reductions for Phases 1, 2, and 3 are based on the VT-CEP goals, as mandated by GWSA.

    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 1.56/2.28 x 13.70 = $9.37 billion, or $3.12 billion/y
    The CO2 reduction appears to be a physical and financial impossibility.
    See table 1 and Note.

    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
    No capital cost estimate was made.

    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
    No capital cost estimate was made.

  3. GWSA and its 23-MEMBER COUNCIL

    GSWA converts the aspirational goals of the CEP, to mandated goals.

    In practice, 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:

    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.

    The “Fight Climate Change” agitators, many of whom would stand to financially gain from the GWSA mandates, have failed to get a carbon tax enacted for five years.
    With GWSA, they will get a bonanza beyond their wildest dreams for decades.
    They labelled GWSA as “this year’s must-pass legislation”.

    GSWA has a 23-member Council. 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.

    NOTE: The 23-member GWSA Council includes:
    Jared Duval, leading member of Energy Action Network
    June Tierney, Commissioner of Public Service, and member of EAN

    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 are 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 by the ruling Dem/Progs.
    It has nothing to do with give and take of Democracy.

    NOTE: Vermont is “lucky”, because it will have the California 14-y, GWSA-experience of rapidly increasing electric rates, and increasing gasoline and heating fuel prices, and rolling brown-outs/black-outs as a guide.

  4. I have a silly question, though given the fact that were it not for the potentially crippling costs of this misadventure, the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) is pretty silly in and of itself. I have long believed that the progressive push for ‘Climate Justice’ was a way to create nefarious paths to actual jobs that came with salaries and benefits for an ever growing cohort of ‘Climate Warriors’ with useless degrees in “Conflict Resolution,” “Video Gaming,” and “Underwater Basket Weaving.”
    Though the GWSA could cost Vermonters hundreds of millions of dollars in the future, unless smarter minds prevail, what is this stupidity going to cost Vermont in 2021, or 2022, or 2023, etc.? What is the ‘Posse of 23’ going to cost us in actual pay and benefits next year? Starting with the ever growing pothole in the road in front of my house, I can think of a hell of a lot of better uses for those dollars than funding lunatic initiatives that will have absolutely no effect on our climate. It might be cheaper to just pay off the badly aging hippies and pimply faced young adults who make up this ‘Posse of 23’ and have them stay away from being non-elected law makers…

  5. Tackling the goals set by the GWSA will require hundreds of millions of dollars to be spent. Some say the needed spending will be in the billions.

    I use the terms spent or spending as opposed to investing because investing presumes a measurable return for the investors……There will be no measurable return for Vermonters arising from the Posse’s effort on the GWSA……..Only untold spending and massive profits flowing to the renewal energy and other related special interest groups.

    Mitzi Johnson, David Zuckerman, Robin Chesnut-Tangerman and others bet their political careers on GWSA and lost……To follow will be losses from their real world pocketbooks as the toll of GWSA spending kicks in during the coming years…….And there will be lots of spending and no measurable mitigation on climate change.

  6. Ah, yes. More high-stakes political theatre ahead. As Vermont citizens and business tries to recover from the economic disaster wrought by Covid 19 and Vermont’s politicians, now comes the GWSA.
    We endured something similar, during Peter Shumlin’s reign- Government run socialized medicine. A poorly designed impractical Act that was destined to fail before it was passed. Vermont’s healthcare costs still haven’t recovered from that fantasy and Vermont government continues to spend and waste millions on “fixing” the problem.
    So, here we go. To accomplish the stated goal, 23 wise men and women will meet and dictate Vermont’s future as a state and the future of Vermont’s citizens. All to appease the religion of Climate Change. This ain’t gonna be cheap, folks. the cost will be paid not only in dollars, but in social and economic destruction labeled as “For the better of us all”
    King Phil will test the prevailing winds and at best can delay this poison pill only so long. It is the Legislature that must correct this error in judgement- by repealing the “Act” they created. Not likely.
    I predict there will be a lot less of us able to live in Vermont, after these politicians and bureaucrats get done dictating their will to us. The principles that founded Vermont were forgotten long ago, the only way to use the phrase “Republic of Vermont” now- is to preface it with Socialist.

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