Roper: Hypocrisy of clean heat standard advocates on display

By Rob Roper

Johanna Miller works for the Vermont Natural Resources Council and is a member of the Vermont Climate Council, appointed by the speaker of the House to represent “a statewide environmental organization.”  Every week or two she does a short YouTube video called “Climate Dispatch.” This last one from March 16 featured Bram Kleppner, another Climate Council member appointed by the speaker to represent “Vermont manufacturers.” Kleppner’s day job is CEO of Danforth Pewter.

All of these Climate Dispatch videos are cute little exercises in propaganda, but this one was especially egregious. As S.5, the Clean Heat Standard bill (or the UnAffordable Heat Act as it is known to its critics), moves from the Senate over to the House for consideration, Lauren Hierl, Miller’s co-host, laments, “That bill has been under unprecedented attack by the fossil fuel industry … they are pouring tens of thousands of dollars into misinformation on that bill and really kind of scaring people about what the impact of transitioning to clean energy are going to be.”

Let’s unpack this.

First, “an unprecedented attack”? Referring to a $34,000 statewide media buy? I’m fairly certain there are multiple precedents in Vermont politics for campaigns by organizations for and against legislation, and by any standard $34K is quite tiny. For comparison, groups for and against Proposal 5, the “Reproductive Liberty Amendment” spent over $1.2 million. And it’s not like the folks represented by Hierl and Miller aren’t running their own equally if not more expensive campaigns in favor of S.5. (See related Behind the Lines story HERE)

Second, the charge that fuel dealers are spreading “misinformation” and “scaring people” is laughable on two counts. In the first place, the fuel dealers’ ad cites testimony from the Secretary of Natural Resources estimating that passage of the Clean Heat Standard will result in an added $0.70 to a gallon of home heating fuel and that translates, on average, to an additional $500 per household on an annual heating bill. That’s not misinformation, it’s math.

In fact, a more robust analysis of the potential cost of the Clean Heat Standard by the Ethan Allen Institute showed as much as a $4.00 per gallon impact on heating fuel. So, as for spreading fear, if anything the fuel dealers are downplaying just how bad the Clean Heat Standard will be for their customers.

But this is the truly hilarious part. Hierl leveled these hyperbolic accusations at the fuel dealers just after Kleppner was asked by Miller why he supports the Clean Heat Standard. His answer: “Global warming threatens to damage or destroy everything you care about.”


No attempt to spread fear and panic amongst the masses with that line of attack! No, not at all! Everybody just remain calm while we figure this thing out.

As for spreading misinformation, Kleppner then goes on a rant about how global warming causes violent weather, disrupts agriculture, damages houses, roads, businesses, and keeps people from earning a paycheck. (If you weren’t frightened enough about the prospect of losing everything you care about.) But even if all the issues Kleppner raised about global warming were true (debatable on some counts and outright false on others), saying or implying that passing a Vermont Clean Heat Standard or even the totality of the Global Warming Solutions Act will have ANY impact on future weather patterns is, well, a heaping wheelbarrow full of misinformation. Passing S.5 won’t do a darn thing to prevent the next Tropical Storm Irene from happening if that’s what Mother Nature has on her schedule.

Heile, Miller and Kleppner bring to mind the Joseph Goebbels quote about the best propaganda trick being to accuse your opponents of that which you yourself are doing.

Rob Roper is a freelance writer who has been involved with Vermont politics and policy for over 20 years. This article reprinted with permission from Behind the Lines: Rob Roper on Vermont Politics,

14 thoughts on “Roper: Hypocrisy of clean heat standard advocates on display

  1. These self-serving, GW-exploiting groups have priority access to the obedient, lapdog VT Media.

    They dominate the air waves, to further lie to, dissemble, gaslight, befuddle and impoverish already struggling Vermonters.

    Vermonters are trying to male ends meet in a zero-real-growth Vermont economy, with an official inflation of at least 8% per year, whereas actual, in the store, inflation is much higher.

    Our RINO governor thinks all of that is OK, even though Vermont could totally disappear and it would not make one iota of difference regarding GW

    This is a crass, self-serving subsidy-chasing game for special interests and a centralized command/control game for the political class

    Just calling a spade a spade

    I put in 3 heat pumps, with 6 heads, for $24,000

    My MEASURED net energy saving is about $200/y, for each of the past 3 years, plus it costs $400/y for serving/cleaning the heads

    I am not counting and other maintenance and parts.
    I am not counting amortizing my “investment” at 6%/y for 15 years, which requires a “mortgage” payment of about $2300/y

    New York, New Jersey and Vermont are the three most expensive states to retire in

    I am a retired professional energy systems analyst

  2. The majority of the Vermont News Media will not report the true story of what and who is behind the GWSA Committee and S.5. The media will never admit that the tremendous expense it will incur on average hard working Vermonters and how it will have zero effect on weather patterns or anything else. I’m afraid the average Vermonter will never know the number of special interest groups and their money being spent to cover up the truth and push through S.5.

    The only hope we have is to begin our own group and raise money to purchase radio, tv and social media ads. The old saying is, “Sometimes, you have to fight fire with fire.”

  3. Based on the title of this article: “Hypocrisy of clean heat standard advocates on display”’ I thought that Mr. Roper was going to tell us what temperature the heating system is set on in the capital building and other state offices.

    • Well, they are heated by wood…The fuel that produces the most greenhouse gasses, bar none…It is sold by the claim that trees grow back and recapture the carbon…Those trees take 50-250 years to grow back in this state so the wood you are burning today won’t be replaced until 2073 at the earliest and all the sage minds say the world will face irreversible problems by 2053….Hmmmm…I suspect even the fools in the Statehouse don’t believe their own bull….I don’t….To be clear, I think you should burn all the wood you want… It costs enough to live here as it is, but don’t follow fools.

  4. The climate nazis have a lot of nerve accusing anyone else of “an unprecedented attack”, when in fact that’s what they are doing raiding the citizens pocket book to fund a hoax that will accomplish squat. Even if they are able to remove a small amount of PLANT FOOD from going into the atmosphere it’s like a fart in a whirlwind in terms of global co2. The other NE states saw the folly in this move to punish Natural fuel users and dropped it like a hot potato but not our bunch of numb nuts. As for spreading misinformation, thousands of Climate scientist disagree with the whole man made problem their pushing, and hundreds of new studies prove no warming on the land or in oceans from Natural fuel use.

  5. This will not affect me as I only use propane, 100 pound tanks. I will be taking them to New Hampshire to get them filled and I urge every normal Vermonters to buy all their fuels there too. The liberals have destroyed my state!! These are the same liberals that are trying to decriminalize all drugs, do away with bail, legalize prostitution and have a 3 day waiting period on buying firearms but at the same time providing assisted suicides?

  6. Years ago I really believed the global warming narrative. It seemed logical, until I learned some more facts.
    However I put my money where my mouth is, and stopped driving for several years.
    Rode bikes, walked. Not practical any distance from town. Finally gave that up for a job that paid money (not in Vermont!).
    That’s when I got on the internet, and found enough information to realize I was the dummy.
    Global warming is the greatest hoax of all time. It makes fools and hypocrites of people who think they care a lot and believe “the science”. What a rotten scam. Pathetic!

  7. the fossil fuel industry … [they are] pouring tens of thousands of dollars into misinformation on that bill and really kind of scaring people about what the impact of transitioning to clean energy are going to be… It would be reasonable, by contrast, to reveal how much the Vermont Natural Resources Council and the Vermont Climate Council are pouring into misinformation on the bill and its effects. I don’t think the AGW cabal has adequately demonstrated any benefits to the people who will suffer from the proposed changes.

    • VNRC’s financials are on this page

      VPIRG lists its “supporters” at the end of its annual reports. Below are Foundations & Grants from 2021, there are lots more listed as individuals, but no dollar amounts.
      American Endowment Foundation Applied Materials Foundation
      Ben and Jerry’s Foundation Blittersdorf Family Foundation Concept2 Fund
      FairVote Action
      Gay & Lesbian Fund of Vermont
      Green New Fund
      John Merck Fund
      Lintilhac Foundation
      RepresentUs Education Fund
      Rockefeller Family Fund
      Ruth H. Brown Foundation
      Serena Foundation
      Seventh Generation Foundation
      State Alliance for Federal Reform of Chemical Policy
      Sustainable Markets Foundation
      The Salon Family Foundation
      The Tides Center
      Unite America

  8. I missed some, add in Vermont Conservation Voters and Sierra Club, the total for the first two months spent on lobbying by the five groups including VPIRG, VNRC and CLF, is $94,114.72.

  9. According to the Lobbying Information Disclosure at the Secretary of State’s office, VPIRG reported spending $10,236.13 in Jan. and $22,805.36 in Feb. VNRC reported spending $10,033.67 in Jan. and $13,812.15 in Feb. Conservation Law Foundation reported spending $10,573.70 in Jan. and $11,295.80 in Feb. In total three groups promoting the Affordable Heat Act/Clean Heat Standard have spent $78,756.81 in the first two months of 2023.

    • And these groups shall get a hefty return on their investment!
      2025 brings the litigation clause into effect, don’t think these groups haven’t got briefs started,
      and will be ready to file 1-1-2025.
      The best news is, that baked into the GWSA is the requirement that the taxpayer bear the costs of litigation, plaintiff and defendant. And the GWSA was written by…. these very same groups.

      • Yeah Frank would you make a agreement that if you didn’t finish building a fence around your property in a week the neighbors could have your land? Nope but these traitorous legislators did that on a bolder scale knowing exactly who would be suing the state…

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