This letter is by Bruce Roy, of Williston. He was a candidate for the Vermont House in 2022.
The “Affordable” Heat Act, S.5, approved by the Senate and House, has been vetoed by Governor Scott. He understands how this carbon tax will financially affect us all as approximately $2 billion of expenses for program administration and subsidies will be passed on to the consumer, with minimal effect on Vermont’s carbon footprint. While addressing the reduction of fossil heating fuels in Vermont is admirable, it must be done in a reasonable manner, not as a result of bad legislation.
The claim that S.5 is just another study is incorrect. Chartering another study does not need a law, and definitely not a law this complex! This is clearly a major step to implementing a carbon tax on those businesses and households that cannot easily convert to fossil free heat.
Vermont has the lowest carbon footprint of all 50 states at 5.4 Million metric tons of CO2 output annually. Vermont contributes a minuscule 0.1% of the total USA output. To put this in perspective, a single active 2.6 GigaWatt coal burning electric plant in Alabama emits almost 18 Million tons of CO2 annually! This one plant is over 3X Vermont’s total output! Three time VT’s! There are 12 more plants around the country that produce over 2X Vermont’s annual total and another 50 USA plants that generate at least Vermont’s 5.4M carbon footprint! And these are just single plants in other states!
Why would our legislators put this unbalanced, unnecessary tax burden on Vermonters? Shouldn’t the immediate pressure be on the coal burning monsters across the country?
Vermonters cannot not afford a “feel good” law that does little to save the planet but, more significantly, puts a burden on low and middle income Vermonters who will be unable to afford heat pumps and winterization and then pay higher heating fuel prices.
Estimates on the additional fuel tax per gallon range from 70 cents to $4 per gallon to cover the $2B, all to force our carbon footprint down to maybe 3.8M tons per year over the next decade or more. All the while the Alabama Miller Plant emits 17.8M tons, the Monroe Plant in Michigan and Missouri’s Labadie Plant produce another 15.8M tons each. Even the Colstrip Plant in Montana gives off 14.2M tons of carbon.
As the 4th highest tax burdened US state, Vermont cannot afford more taxes if we are to improve our economic outlook and overcome the many other immediate problems facing us.
Common sense and balance say Governor Scott’s veto is the right thing for Vermont today. A planned veto override by our legislators, forcing us down this unnecessary and financially painful path, makes no sense.
The veto must be maintained!”