McClaughry: The ‘affordable heating’ fraud

By John McClaughry

Disreputable politicians all too often assign deceptive labels to legislation to mislead voters who don’t pay close attention. A deplorable example of such mislabeling is the forthcoming Affordable Heating Act.

“Affordable Heating” is the new label applied by the climateers to replace the “Clean Heat Standard” bill that Gov. Scott vetoed last May. Now, with a veto-proof and disciplined 104-38 majority in the House, the Democrats are eager to pass a renamed “Clean Heat Standard” whether Gov. Phil Scott likes it or not.

Here’s how a leading climate and energy reporter describes it:

Last year’s bill laid out a clean heat standard that would gradually transition home heating and cooling systems away from fossil fuels. Using a credit system, it would have rewarded entities — organizations, businesses and, in some instances, homeowners — who helped to reduce thermal fossil fuel usage in Vermont’s buildings.

A person who installed a heat pump, sealed and insulated a home to make it weather-proof or installed efficient appliances could earn credits as long as their project measurably reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

In turn, the measure would have established ‘obligated parties’ — fuel dealers bringing fossil fuels for heating into Vermont for sale — that would be required to buy or generate an increasing number of credits per year.

There is nothing false about the foregoing description. It’s the Vermont Climate Council-approved description of the Clean Heat Standard. The Democratic majorities are about to give it to us again as the “Affordable Heating Act.” But maybe you should ask a few penetrating questions before rejoicing in the coming affordability.

Who operates this “credit system” and how does it choose and reward these lucky entities? Where will these “obligated parties” find the money to pay for this increasing number of credits per year? Will the fuel dealers be fined if they don’t buy enough credits? Who will end up paying for that? And how will my heating fuel bill be made more affordable?

The answers to these questions are well known to the Vermont Climate Council and the climate interest groups that engineered its creation and are now represented on it.

Let me translate for you:

“Our planet faces a climate crisis caused by emissions of carbon dioxide. People heating with oil, gas, and propane cause a large part of these emissions. Those people must be made to stop.”

“Simply banning petroleum fuels would cause resistance. So we’ll assign the (unaccountable) Public Utilities Commission to come up with a schedule of funny-money credits and distribute them among people who reduce emissions, notably Efficiency Vermont.”

“Vermont’s fuel dealers will be told to earn or buy a specified number of credits as penance for delivering heating fuel. The required number of credits will be increased year after year.”

“To pay for these credits, your fuel dealer will have little choice but to increase the price you will pay for heating fuel. If fuel dealers fail to comply, the PUC will sock them with a ‘noncompliance payment’ equal to three times their credit deficit.”

“Oh yes, if you’re a certified low income person you’ll get a subsidy to offset the higher fuel price. If you’re not such a person, you’ll keep paying more and more extra for winter heat, until you install undependable electric heat pumps or advanced wood heat systems, or unload your home or business and move to a place where the government is not under the control of devious carbon taxers.”

Will all this cost and grief, over 20 or 50 years, have any detectable effect on any metric of the planet’s climate? Of course not. Meanwhile, just one China’s new 1,600 megawatt coal burning power plants will pour out more CO2 than everything in today’s Vermont — heat, transportation, everything. Unless you’re among the favored few, you’ll pay ever more for your heating fuel, after having been told that this act will exemplify Gov. Scott’s signature promise of keeping Vermont “affordable.”

On a radio show a week ago Gov. Scott was asked about the Affordable Heating Act. He said a new name won’t change the reality about what the failed legislation proposes. “If [lawmakers] … call it by a different name, and if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck,” the governor said.

The governor will insist, correctly, that there must be a clear record vote in the Legislature to put this “Affordable Heating Act” into operation next winter. But he has yet to brand it a regressive, fruitless, dishonestly labelled and unaffordable heating fuel cost increase on 65% of Vermonters.

One would hope that he will stand up and oppose this fraud from day one, and rally the 70 percent of Vermonters who just voted to reelect him to stand with him.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

11 thoughts on “McClaughry: The ‘affordable heating’ fraud

  1. A people deserve the government they get. And they continue to vote for Democrats/Marxists. Good. Freeze. Global warming ain’t gonna keep you warm. Lots of stupid people in Vermont.

  2. When will the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association recommend to their members that they cease delivering fuel to these idiots in Montpelier pushing these punitive laws?

  3. Democrats don’t really care about people or logic, they only care about “winning”. They’ll jam unreasonable legislation down our throats just so they can wave their finger in your face. They’ll cheat to win, change the rules to win….really anything to win. We’re screwed here in VT, it’s over for reasonable people.

  4. I agree, John McClaughry’s commentary, on many issues, is very much appreciated.

    Also if you are not familiar with the Co2 Coalition, I encourage you to take a few minutes to visit their site, Knowledgeable well educated scientists going to great extents to get the real truth out about the effects of Co2 on our planet. “Rest easy” they say, “There is no climate crisis “.

    • Great reference site!
      The crisis will be the lack of affordable and reliable energy overall along with a bankrupting of our children as the “non carbon” policies get forced upon the free market/citizens.
      Nicely put as Richard Lindzen wrote in 2009: “… there are the numerous well meaning individuals who have allowed propagandists to convince them that in accepting the alarmist view of anthropogenic climate change, they are displaying intelligence and virtue. For them, their psychic welfare is at stake”.

  5. Letter: A New Year’s prayer for our community
    TNR / 10 hours ago
    This letter by Lynn James Edmunds, of Wallingford.

    What we do today, in the name of our collective community, manifests as our reality in the future.

    When we respect the free will of our neighbors and value the path of their choosing as much as our own, we reject the notion of imposing punitive measures on our entire community simply because we can, or because other towns do so.

    Instead, we believe personal liberty should never be preemptively confiscated from anyone, nor used as currency to resolve issue, or given as spoils to committee agenda of benevolent disguise.

    Unnecessary regulation need not impede our pursuit of happiness, unless by our consent.

    The needless compliance you tolerate today, will shape all our lives tomorrow.

    For there exists a Universal Order of Natural Law that cannot be changed — this law can only be respected or violated.

    Let us pray, that by your choice, our collective power will be respectful, not controlling; inclusive, not discriminating; and organically natural, not agenda driven.

    Your power has resonance. But is your pursuit in harmony with the Universe?

    Lynn James Edmunds
    Wallingford, Vermont

  6. We should all be grateful for the existence of the political observations of John McClaughry.
    Without his commentaries on the activities of our state government, we’d be in a worse mess than we often find ourselves.

    Among those folks in our Legislature who spend four days a week for roughly five months a year in a large building, the state capital in Montpelier, and who like to picture themselves as your representatives or senators, there are a wholesome lot for whom a more specific description of their occupation might more accurately be to improve their own interests in one way or another. Without carefully describing how their daily duties are spent in efforts to benefit the way you and your family live, they often focus their activities on any ways and/or means that will, in one way or another, put themselves in a more desirable or powerful position.
    Under the guise of suggesting that by eliminating the use of oil, gas and propane, among other things, your life and that of your loved ones will be significantly improved. Not surprisingly, they neglect to mention what the costs and timing of installation will be to all of us if the necessities of life, alternatively chosen by them, are imposed upon us. They deliberately overlook the obvious notion
    that to replace the means by which your home is currently heated, cooled, cleaned, and lit would probably be overwhelming.
    To further the atrocitties they now often propose to replace your current necessities, they haven’t bothered to explain how their alternatives will either improve your way of life or how their preferred
    substitutes will significantly improve upon the atmospheric conditions in which we live in Vermont or,
    for that matter, the rest of the country or the world. The weather atmosphere in our state is probably the cleanest, the healthiest and among the least destructive of almost any ware else in the United States. The reality is that the vast majority of the folks in the U.S., to say nothing of the rest of the world, even know where Vermont is on the map. Face it, folks: in almost no way does our “little state” have much of a leading effect beyond the boundaries of that little state, but WHEARE IT DOES MATTER A WHOLE LOT, is the extent to which we allow a handful of little dictators, and polititions, to lead us down a wrong and damaging path.

  7. My Vermont has become a very scary place. If you are not rich (or well off) you are screwed in that state. Gob Bless those that still reside there and are tilting at those progressive windmills.

  8. Al, I believe that you are referring to the Milankovitch Cycles. they describe Cyclic Climate changes. If the Sky is falling Chicken Littles would try to read and Learn a bit about climate, and that we are at this time Headed into a warm time, eventually to be replaced by another ICE AGE.

    • Ice ages? We were on the panicky edge of an impending ice age just a half century ago. Headline news. Magazine lead stories. End of civilization as we know it department.

  9. If those “Climateers” would take the time to read the research about ice ages and that they reoccur and not dependent on the burning of fossil fuels, they might realize that it would be money better spent to prepare for the next coming ice age rather than try to postpone its arrivial for maybe a generation.
    That’s what happens when you put uneducated ignorant persons in charge of decision-making positions that impact peoples’ lives. They can read the following information, but as we all know, the libs will call it “misinformation”.

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