Meg Hansen: Will Gov. Scott veto disastrous clean heat standard bill?

By Meg Hansen

Vermont’s first-in-the-nation legislation to regulate all fossil-based home heating fuels, called the “clean heat standard” (CHS), is poised to become law this month.

The program aims to make fossil fuels expensive and inaccessible, compelling residents to heat their homes with biofuels and wood. However, numerous studies over the last decade prove that biofuels and wood release greater greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than fossil fuels. They also release large amounts of toxic pollutants when burned. Disregarding the evidence, Vermont lawmakers purport that the CHS will reduce carbon emissions by forcing Vermonters to burn carbon-intensive and “unclean” fuels.

Importantly, this is not the first time that Vermont has pushed a paradoxical policy. The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant had long provided reliable, abundant, cheap, scalable, and carbon-free power. Yet, Montpelier shut down the plant in 2014, creating a “hole” — to quote the Boston Globe — that will “haunt the New England energy grid for decades.” In the aftermath, Vermont’s GHG emissions have drastically increased.

Vermont legislators have repeatedly enacted unintelligent and ruinous schemes, which in theory address climate change but in practice devastate the environment. They must be stopped.

Will Gov. Scott veto this disastrous bill that will only raise the region’s net carbon emissions and cause significant pollution?

Meg Hansen is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Image courtesy of Vermont Fuel Dealers Association

7 thoughts on “Meg Hansen: Will Gov. Scott veto disastrous clean heat standard bill?

  1. Well I can see I’m going to become my own oil man and buy it in 5 gal cans in NY and MA. Fortunately I can burn wood, so I get by on 100 gal. of oil a year. — Wonder what the commies will try to out law me.

  2. If Governor Phil Scott wants to demonstrate that there is at least one adult in the State House, he must veto the Clean Heat Standard bill and comfort Vermonters with his clarity of thought and his courage as a trusted Governor. After two years of pandemic privations and with the current geopolitics turmoil of the war in Ukraine and its devastating consequences in human suffering and potential global insecurity and shortages, Vermonters are absolutely yearning for political clear minded thinking and lower, not higher, energy costs. More than ever the need for a strong and lucid Governor is needed. The stakes with the vote on the the CHS are that terrifying. I hope Governor Scott can signal to the promotors of that bill that: “Recess is over!”. As Governor Shumlin in 2014 understood that the single payer heath care system would “risk an economic shock to Vermonters” and thus dropped the idea, Governor Phil Scott can demonstrate the same fortitude with the Clean Heat standard by his veto.

    • Monique,

      It is important to note that Governor Scott vetoed the Global Warming Act last year that has led to this impractical legislation. Unfortunately, his veto was overridden by the legislature putting us on a path where citizens can sue the state if unreachable and practically speaking meaningless climate goals are not obtained in the next few years.

      Vetos only really matter if there are the votes to sustain them. What is needed is a net gain of 5 more seats in the Vermont House to make sure this kind of well-intentioned but totally flawed legislation no longer is even proposed.

  3. Gov. Scott must veto the clean heat standard even if the expectation is that the veto will be overdriven.

    Total ownership of the disastrous, costly and poorly thought through CHS must be placed squarely in the laps of the Vermont legislature where it belongs……..A failure to veto, puts Gov. Scott’s seal of approval on a bill that will harm all Vermonters and do nothing to mitigate climate change.

    • Peter,


      However, if the 24% efficient McNeal tree burning power plant were shut down (the energy of 3 out of 4 trees is wasted), that would improve the air quality in the Burlington area downwind of the plant

    • Yes on who’s at fault Peter, and that’s why they passed the special protection for themselves
      first as they know there’s going to be a lot of outrage down the road on this energy killing bill.
      Scott had better veto and make the citizen’s aware how bad this bill will severely hurt middle and low income class.

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