McClaughry: A Vermont Senate committee’s honest discussion of proposed heat standard

Michael Bielawski/TNR

Let’s give the senators credit for candor. Yes, forcing your heating fuel distributor to buy clean heat credits — that the Public Utility Commission can issue in unlimited quantities to heat pump installers, weatherizers and other favored businesses and homeowners that are doing something that reduces carbon dioxide emissions— will drive up the price of that fuel.

By John McClaughry

A friend sent me the video of the Senate Natural Resources and Energy committee meeting of April 15, discussing the Clean Heat Standard bill (H.715). Twenty-nine minutes in, it yielded this these gems:

Sen. Mark MacDonald  (Democrat, Orange County): “I don’t understand it, I can’t explain it so I don’t understand it.”

“They (the Public Utility Commission) in theory understand what we are not able to explain.  We are asking them to design the thing that will work. But we can’t explain what we are asking them to design.”

A minute or two later Chairman Sen. Chris Bray (Democrat, Addison County) admits:  “you could see the price of [heating] fuel rise.”

Sen. MacDonald: “When John McClaughry says we’ve got a fuel tax, a carbon tax, I think John’s correct – isn’t that what we’re doing?”

Sen. Bray: “Right. In essence you’re building into the price of fuel the cost of reducing the [carbon dioxide] emissions.”

Let’s give the senators credit for candor. Yes, forcing your heating fuel distributor to buy clean heat credits — that the Public Utility Commission can issue in unlimited quantities to heat pump installers, weatherizers and other favored businesses and homeowners that are doing something that reduces carbon dioxide emissions— will drive up the price of that fuel. And who will pay the higher price? You will, if you use heating oil, propane or natural gas.

The senators now admit what I’ve been saying since early February: It’s a stealth carbon tax.

After recognizing that important fact, the four Democrats on the Committee voted 4-1 to report to the bill to the Senate. The lone Republican voted no.

To watch the discussion on YouTube, click here.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

 

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR
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2 thoughts on “McClaughry: A Vermont Senate committee’s honest discussion of proposed heat standard

  1. The words coming out of Sen. McDonald’s mouth of “I don’t understand it, I can’t explain it so I don’t understand it.” followed by his affirmative vote to advance the Clean Heat Standard bill…….Is pure malpractice by any standard.

    Sen. Bray and his two colleagues join McDonald in the malpractice by failing to address the lack of understanding and inability to explain the bill before voting to advance the bill to the full Senate…….These Senators have a fiduciary responsibility to the full Senate and the voters to understand what they are voting for before casting their votes…….A responsibility they failed to carry out for H.715.

    This is legislative malpractice, plain and simple……A glaring case of poor judgement, cavalier behavior and malpractice that screams for a veto of Clean Heating Standard by Gov. Scott if the bill is passed by the legislature.

    • Peter –
      Thank you. There is a disturbing trend of legislation being introduced that is (purposely) so confusing irrational and convoluted that no one can understand it, or phantom the “unintended” consequences. Legislators’ egos will not allow them to admit that they have no idea what is going on. With no understanding of the issue, the pressure is on the members (especially the newer members) to take the default position, go along with their party’s “leaders”. With the Dems and Progs in the majority, that’s why we are where we are…… The legislature is controlled by a relatively small group of very aggressive radicals.

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