By John McClaughry
Over the past year I’ve spent a lot of time denouncing what I call the worst democracy-shredding bill in Vermont history. It’s titled the Global Warming Solutions Act (H.688), and it’s now before the Senate.
Here’s one particularly deplorable feature of the House-passed bill. If the secretary of Natural Resources does an inadequate job of issuing sweeping and invasive rules to make Vermonters stop emitting carbon dioxide, the bill allows the Conservation Law Foundation to go to court, like it did in Massachusetts, and get a court order to demand that the secretary issue even more sweeping and invasive rules.
And if the group bringing the suit substantially prevails in the court, the court is supposed to pay its legal expenses and send the bill to the taxpayers — even if nothing actually comes of this political fund raising exercise.
What if the secretary of Natural Resources, who works for the governor, replies to the court, “We’re not going to impose more stringent rules because we think we’ve gone far enough in wrecking Vermont’s economy.”
Is the court going to sock the secretary of Natural Resources, and the governor, with a contempt of court citation, and fine them maybe $100 a day until they do something the court finds satisfactory — like decree a climate change surcharge on motor fuel sales? Or shut down Thunder Road?
At this point no one really knows, and I assure you it is not worth finding out.
John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.