By Rob Roper
Under the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2020, Vermont is now mandated to lower its greenhouse gas emissions to 26% below 2005 levels by 2025, 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. There are three main areas of our economy that generate greenhouse gas emissions: agriculture, thermal (home heating) and transportation.
S.5, the Clean Heat Standard (CHS) bill currently under consideration, is the suggested solution for the thermal sector. The CHS has a baseline price tag in excess of $2 billion over four years (2026-2030), not including the administrative costs to run the program or any costs associated with subsidy programs designed to mitigate the impact on low income Vermonters, which are details yet to be explored.
On Wednesday, Sen. Rebecca White, D-Windsor, introduced S.24, an act relating to the clean fuels program, which would be the solution for the transportation sector. S.24 would replace the now defunct Transportation Climate Initiative Program (TCI-P) in the Vermont Climate Action Plan (CAP).
TCI-P was an idea for a multi-state program requiring motor fuel dealers to purchase “carbon credits” (a carbon tax) in order to sell gasoline and diesel. It collapsed in November 2020 when only one of the 13 states considering joining, Massachusetts, formally agreed to do so. Two other states’ governors in Connecticut and Rhode Island unofficially agreed to participate but were shot down by their legislatures. The general objection to the program was the fact that what was effectively a tax designed to raise the cost of gas and diesel was something drivers just couldn’t afford.
In the ensuing 13 months since TCI-P’s demise, the Vermont Climate Council has failed to find or agree on a replacement program to address Vermont’s transportation greenhouse gas reduction requirements. So, White stepped forward with her bill to fill that gap.
S.24, “proposes to direct the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation to adopt rules to implement the Clean Fuels Program,” after the bill becomes law and, as such, the bill itself is extremely light on details for how it would work, what it would cost and what it would ultimately do. However, the bill is specifically modeled on a program that exists in in Oregon, and similar programs exists in California and Washington. It is worth noting that, according to AAA, those states now have the highest gas and diesel retail prices in the nation.
White’s Clean Fuel Standard would require fuel providers to gradually reduce the carbon intensity of motor fuels by mandating an increase in the amount of biofuel blend motor fuel that is sold in state, and “directs the agency to come up with a system to come up with a schedule to phase in the standard to reduce the average amount of greenhouse gas emissions per unit of fuel by 10 percent below the 2018 levels by 2030.”
The Oregon system this is based on, like TCI-P and the thermal sector Clean Heat Standard, is based on a “carbon credit” system. While S.24 doesn’t mention a carbon credit system, it does direct the agency in charge of making the rules to look to the Oregon law.
Sen. White also sees her Clean Fuel program as creating a revenue stream to subsidize electrification of the transportation sector under the GWSA. She didn’t say how much revenue she wanted or expected the Clean Fuel program to raise, and none of the other senators on the Natural Resources & Energy Committee asked — TCI-P was expected to raise between $20 and $30 million annually for Vermont. However, the number of transportation sector projects required to meet Vermont’s greenhouse gas reduction goals (e.g. putting 27,000 EVs on the road by 2025 and over 120,000 by 2030) will cost significantly more than that.
Controversy among environmentalist factions over biofuels could be an obstacle for S.24, some seeing them as a legitimate alternative to existing fossil fuels while others see them as just another fossil fuel that need to be banned.
Sen. Dick McCormack, D-Windsor, raised concerns that there is a perception that biofuels are really “greenwashing.” White herself admitted that she didn’t like the idea of embracing biofuels, but argued that some bridge to full electrification of the transportation sector is necessary, though undesirable.
It remains to be seen whether the Senate will take up White’s bill, or an alternative, this year. However, the first set of mandates under the GWSA arrive in 2025, just two years away, and there is currently no plan to address transportation sector greenhouse gas reduction.
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.
7 thoughts on “Senator introduces motor fuel companion to clean heat standard”
Incredibly stupid. As if “bio-fuels” don’t contain carbon and emit CO2 when burned.
Growing those crops and converting them to fuel produces more CO2 than simply tapping the fuel supply underground.
Whether they know it or not, this is tyranny, and will lead to war, famine, pestilence, and will not affect the climate one iota (whatever an iota is).
I’m 75 with a diesel powered car. I can’t afford to replace it, and biofuels damage the engine over time. This law would force me to buy fuel in NY, MA, and NH instead. And I’ll be shopping there more too and make me get more serious about selling the house and moving to America. (that is NH or TN for the idiots in Mt. Stupid).
12 states decided this was a terrible idea so the loons here want to go ahead with it… how brain dead stupid can you get. These commies need to be shot or better yet hung from the state house as a warning to future commies..Bring back the Green Mountain Boys they knew how to deal with these type of traitors.
Our GOD legislature at work. But wait ! There will be more….
As the world turns, the Vermont stupid continues. This young lady couldn’t explain this proposal and neither can the rest of the brainiacs down there. The chicken little crowd is acting like chickens with their head cut off which is the equivalent of having no brains. Let’s all say it again, whatever they do here will have no affect on the climate, the weather or the earth. It has to be about the money. Vermont’s size in relation to the earth is like a flea in relation to an elephant and probably less. The God syndrome has affected the mount stupid legislative overlords. Next thing you will see is these people trying to walk on water which is about as possible as them controlling the climate. So, it must be about the green money coming their way!
Biofuels have much less energy per gallon than gasoline so the citizens will get to pay same or more for less range per gallon. Not to mention the damage caused to engines once the biofuel mix exceeds even 10% along with the worldwide damage caused by deforestation as more land is used to produce corn, etc. Just more waste of money and resources chasing a non-existent boogeyman (CO2).
“White’s Clean Fuel Standard would require fuel providers to gradually reduce the carbon intensity of motor fuels by mandating an increase in the amount of biofuel blend motor fuel that is sold in state, and “directs the agency to come up with a system to come up with a schedule to phase in the standard to reduce the average amount of greenhouse gas emissions per unit of fuel by 10 percent below the 2018 levels by 2030.”
Can White show exactly how much the proposed reduction in “carbon intensity” (what ever that means) will have on the climate?
I doubt it.
This is absolute BullS.
Lets add absolute HorseS, CowS, TurkeyS, ChickenS and any other animalS you can think of.
Come on, prove it.
Go ahead, I dare you.
Comments are closed.