Racial Equity Office says enough with all the equity task forces

By Rob Roper

Jay Green, racial equity research analyst of the Office of Racial Equity, testified before the House Energy and Environment Committee to discuss issues of concern his office has with S.5, the Clean Heat Standard bill.

One of the office’s problems with the bill was a bit surprising: its creation of a Clean Heat Standard Equity Advisory Group.

Vermont climate policy, from the Global Warming Solutions Act to the Climate Action Plan and the Clean Heat Standard, is draped with rhetoric regarding commitment to equity, outreach to “marginalized communities,” and justice for low income and rural Vermonters. Despite these calls to action, the Vermont Climate Council is currently mired in controversy over accusations it is really just another embodiment of “white privilege” that only pays lip service to social justice.

At the most recent meeting of the Climate Council’s Just Transitions Committee, which was focused on addressing these charges, one member read an excerpt from a letter by Beverly Little Thunder, who previously resigned from the subcommittee, describing how “the patronizing and polite ignoring of my concerns led me to step back from the subcommittee.”

But similar to the Climate Council’s Just Transitions subcommittee, to show its commitment to justice, the controversial bill that would establish a carbon credit system calls for the creation of The Clean Heat Standard Equity Advisory Group. This group, according to the S.5 bill, would consist of up to 10 members appointed by the Public Utilities Commission, and include “individuals with socioeconomically, racially, and geographically diverse backgrounds; renters; rental property owners; the Vermont Housing Finance Agency; and a member of the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association.”

This group’s role would be to look over the shoulder of the Public Utilities Commission as it writes the rules that would govern the Clean Heat Standard and would work alongside another group created by the law, the Technical Advisory Group.

But for Green and his department, this was an equity group too far.

Reading from a report done by the Racial Equity Office, Green testified sounding much like the Little Thunder letter: “‘The list of equity related working groups created or led by the state has grown in the last year, and the ever expanding list of work groups that focus on equity issues is growing at a pace that is not commensurate to the actual need for more working groups.’”

He went on in his own words:

Some of them have been extant for many years, and we have yet to see any progress on some of the recommendations that were made, for example, by the Racial Equity Task force. It’s been three years since the publication of the first report and we’re still waiting on the legislature to make some of the recommended changes that were put forward by the Racial Equity Task Force Report. So, we are questioning the need for another equity related working group to exist … in addition to the Environmental Justice Advisory Council in the Agency of Natural Resources. There’s also the Vermont Climate Council [Just Transitions Subcommittee]. There are several working groups related to climate and equity already extant in the state.

It appears that the window-dressing of showcasing token minorities in formal but ultimately powerless committee roles is no longer going to pass muster with social justice activists.

Instead, what Green proposed as a change to S.5 would be legal language mandating that the facilitator or consultant hired by the Public Utilities Commission to do the public, does so in a meaningful way by “seek[ing] input from a broader base of stakeholders throughout the state. And that said outreach “should inform the rulemaking process.” (By which he means that the PUC would be directed by law to write the rules based on what these marginalized communities say.)

It is important to note that throughout the debate over the Clean Heat Standard and overall climate policy, the primary issue that the BIPOC communities feel that they aren’t being listened to on is their objection to classifying biomass as a renewable energy source, and their desire to see the McNeil and Ryegate biomass power plants shut down. It wasn’t clear if the legislators understood that this was what is at stake with this request.

Rob Roper is a freelance writer who has been involved with Vermont politics and policy for over 20 years. © Copyright True North Reports 2023. All rights reserved.

15 thoughts on “Racial Equity Office says enough with all the equity task forces

  1. The stock options are privledged insider information. The equity/inclusion group must stay in their lane, perform as directed when directed, shut up and sit down, the Masters have spoken. They must comply or their funding will be cut and the rug pulled out from underneath them. Welcome to the globalist, elitist NWO – thanks for playing along chumps!

  2. DEI offices are at the State level, many municipalities (Burlington pays 11 people), every college, many businesses, every public school district. We are talking millions upon millions of dollars for jobs that fill no need. They don’t do anything except look for any sliver of possible racism in the whitest and arguably most accepting state, and inflate it. It’s created a divide between races which dems have been doing since we became a country.

  3. There you have it folks their pulling out the race card… Gorebull warming is racist..and making poc’s pay is white supremacy.. what we need less of is idiots not co2…

  4. Ya’ GOTTA’ love it! Now you have the Racial Equity Office pissed off at the “Kult Klimate Change” office, that Klimate Kult is trying to get into the MONEY HONEYPOT – from the “racial” end of things. Always follow the money$. The Klimate Kult says, that THEY deserve DEI compensations, because of Klimate Change Extinction…and they want a pot of dough, to save the worlds Climate – taking from the Racial Kult – taking more than their fair share 🙂

    Can you believe? They are eating themselves now. It was never about race or Climate…it is all about layers & layers of fat $$$ job justifications, meetings & memos…money, power & arrogance. Now they fight each other. But that is GOOD news, cuz’ it signals the crack in the dam. These “cracks” appear now, just while VT is flush from FREE billions of covid money…just imagine how they will eat other alive – when covid money is ALL gone..pissed away on Religious Kult Klimate Change…and nothing left for DEI, or their basically racist agenda.

    • Interstingly enough, perhaps more money is the way to get them to collapse faster. Just like people who win the lottery, 35% are broke within 5 years, irrergardless of the winnings amount.

      Money doesn’t solve problems, it only amplifies what you already are, it amplifies the direction, the course you have chosen. In this c are VERMONT has chosen failed policies,we have not wisdom.

  5. Let’s just committee and commission ourselves out of existence. What’s the real end game here?
    Vermont has never been racist in my lifetime. Sure there are idiots everywhere every day. But the vast majority of people I have met over my lifetime in Vermont are not racist. People need to get over themselves and stop this victimhood culture.

    On a more serious note here is a few things to think about…
    1. How is that the government can’t control gasoline prices..but the weather is something they can fix? Note… China is building 2 new coal plants per WEEK.

    2. Why was Americans told to lower the A/C on hot days to prevent overwhelming the electrical grid and then told to turn in our gas cars and buy electric ones?

    Vermont and America need to focus on the out of control spending of the taxpayers hard earned dollars. All the top tier investors and billionaires are saying we are headed into a huge storm and yet our legislators continue to act like nothing is wrong and think we have unlimited resources.

  6. Just take a look at Burlington, Rutland, St John’sbury and Brattleboro to see how divirsity is working out. Crime out of control and worthless junkies everywhere. Keep your divirsity and I’ll stay among my own up in the hills.

  7. It would appear that the specter of “white privilege” and the quest for “social justice” are recognized as REAL elements in our lives. There is consensus that they are serious and require debate and legislative action. Gracious…who knew? And we ask ourselves, have we invited our legislators to go dawdling around in this arena? Is there a consensus among the constituents that this is important or is this another example of intrusive OVERREACH?

  8. This is too funny. Just perfect. Let’s just sit back and watch the nonsense implode upon itself.

  9. Diversity is basically cultish evil and flies in the face of all Martin Luther King fought & died for…MLK summed it up in his famous “I Have A Dream” speech where he wished for a day to be judged not by the color of your skin, but by the the content of your character…….D.E.I. is TOTALLY opposite of that dream of MLK’s…..D.E.I. discriminates based on the color of your skin !!…. for diversity & inclusion – and little else…qualifications, experience, ability….be damned. This Op-Ed nailed it…if you ever contact your legislator, send it to them. DEI is evil – and opposite of MLK’s dreams…which makes Liberals & Progressives the biggest racists around 🙂

    ““Diversity is no longer a term to describe the breadth of our differences but a demand to flatter and grant privileges to purportedly oppressed identity groups. Equity assigns desirable positions based on race, sex and sexual orientation rather than character, competence and merit. Inclusion now means creating a social environment where identity groups are celebrated while those who disagree are maligned. ….“Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion”—the compound form of these modern concepts—is especially toxic. It divides us by social identity groups, ranks those groups on privilege and power, and excludes those who fail to honor the new orthodoxy.”

    • Diversity dilutes cultures. Look at Europe, Sweden and Finland. The whole cultural and ethnic makeup of nations are diluting themselves. And it’s not all rosy! Look at Vermont and the invasion of progressive liberals. While not ethnic, the damage to our culture is real.

  10. BIPOC communities feel that they aren’t being listened to? Cry me a river, and join the rest of us who haven’t been listened to since well before there were a couple hundred ‘equity’ commissions, committees, and councils.

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