Statehouse Headliners: Progressive-backed House bills would tax carbon, eliminate fossil fuels by 2050

By Guy Page

Three Progressive-sponsored bills taking a hard line against carbon and climate change have been introduced into the Vermont House of Representatives this week.

Their introduction comes in the wake of national calls for a Green New Deal. Last week in the Vermont State House, signs taped to walls promoted a meeting for a “Vermont Green New Deal.” At a Feb. 20 press conference members of a pro-renewable power business group called for carbon pricing. Two of the companies – Seventh Generation and Ben & Jerry’s – are owned by multinational conglomerate Unilever, which produces of “sustainable products” and is a corporate leader in climate change initiatives.

Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership, the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare, and Physicians, Families & Friends for a Better Vermont.

None of these bills are likely to meet the March 15 crossover date necessary to be passed into law this year. They could get more attention next year, in the second half of the 2019-20 biennium.

H.477 — An Act Related to a Carbon Charge, sponsored by Rep. Diana Gonzalez, P-Winooski, would add a $5 per tonne charge on carbon emissions starting in 2020 and increase to $50 by 2030.

According to a formula in a Vermont Legislative Council tonne/dollar conversion chart, the tax on heating oil and diesel starts at a nickel/gallon and increases to 51 cents/gallon over the next decade. Gasoline would start at 4.5 cents per gallon and eventually get to 44-cents per gallon. Propane would start at 3 cents/gallon and end up at 29 cents/gallon.

Other H.477 sponsors are Rep. Mollie Burke, Rep. Selene Colburn, Rep. Zachariah Ralph, and Rep. Mary Sullivan. Except for Sullivan, all are Progressives.

H.463, sponsored by Reps. Colburn and Gonzalez, would add up to 40-cents a gallon in carbon charges. According to its introductory statement, H.463 would adopt a charge on the carbon content of fossil fuels to address climate change and facilitate meeting greenhouse gas reduction goals and to return all of the revenues from that charge to customers on their electric bills.

H.462, sponsored by Colburn and others, mandates the state of Vermont eliminate fossil fuel consumption by 2050. The state of Vermont could be sued if it fails to meet the goal in 2050 or key benchmarks in 2025 and 2035 (25% and 50% of the 1990 baseline). Joining a regional fossil fuel reduction compact would eliminate the need to follow the plan set forth by H462.

Despite its aggressive goals, H.462 – like the national Green New Deal — does not endorse nuclear power, New England’s largest carbon-free source of electricity. Just two nuclear facilities — Seabrook in New Hampshire and Millstone in Connecticut — produce more electricity than all New England wind and solar power combined. Green Mountain Power, the state’s largest utility, in July 2018 received about 27 percent of its electricity from nuclear power and between 2-6 percent from solar.

Other energy-related House bills scheduled to be introduced are H.475, electric vehicle incentives; H.471, electric vehicle fees and price supports; H.468, tax rebate for solar panels; H.467, sponsored by Rep. Paul Lefebvre, would place wind turbine siting jurisdiction under Act 250. At present wind farms must undergo Act 248 (energy generation) review.

Statehouse Headliners is intended primarily to educate, not advocate. It is e-mailed to an ever-growing list of interested Vermonters, public officials and media. Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership; the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare; and Physicians, Families and Friends for a Better Vermont.

Image courtesy of Bruce Parker/TNR
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12 thoughts on “Statehouse Headliners: Progressive-backed House bills would tax carbon, eliminate fossil fuels by 2050

  1. Democrats (Progressives) are LEMMINGS….if one says Sh*,^ they all say how much. There is NOT a single one in Montpelier who thinks for themselves anymore…It’s all about “The Agenda”. #802VTALLIANCE

  2. Cortez wants to eliminate airplane travel??? What happens to all the airplanes that defend our country? Not counting all the jobs the airplane industry provides.

  3. After 2050, when fossil fuels are banned, all cremations will be in the Viking tradition – huge funeral pyres made of wood in the open air.

  4. Green New Deal? Got a better idea. How about replacing those uglly solar panels by running a natural gas pipe into Vermont, or better yet let’s replace them with beautiful natural gas drilling rigs. Should take only one to replace acres of panels. Far fetched? No more so than the Green pipe dream.

  5. Three Progressive-sponsored bills taking a hard line against carbon and climate change have been introduced into the Vermont House of Representatives this week.

    Well, that’s the first clue that these bills are part of an agenda ( Regressive DemocRATs ) saving
    the world on the backs of its workers………………….It’s all about the agenda.

    Wake up Vermont.

  6. Legislation that harms working Vermonters and the elderly while having zero measurable effect on climate change. Oh well, at least the liberals can feel clever and morally superior. These people cannot see beyond their egos to understand their “solutions” are causing more harm than the problem,

  7. Even with the inclusion of all that Vermont bovine flatulence, 49 other States in the US would love to have the carbon emission stats enjoyed by the State of Vermont. Yup! Vermont is dead last for carbon “pollution.” We might actually brag about this to States like Wyoming which has fewer people and ten times the rate of emissions. So would a Progressive please explain why we need a carbon tax other than not letting an opportunity to tax go to waste?

  8. The regressive party seems hell bent on driving Vt back into the 19th century which we
    have barley crawled out from. Don’t get me wrong I like horses but not to get to work on
    a 0 degree winter night when the battery on the volt has depleted from cold. Their denying nuclear power shows their intent to NOT meet a the over aggressive no fossil fuel deadline. Blow and glow just ain’t going to cut it, especially without something to back it up.

    How much heating will this offset? have they got china and india on board? All this crap is for naught
    if the largest polluters are not doing anything, to say nothing about VT being one of the cleanest states NOW..

  9. Even with the inclusion of all the bovine flatulence, 49 other States would love to have the record low carbon emissions enjoyed by Vermont State. Yup! Vermont is low man on the Totem Pole of all 50 States for carbon pollution if it is even real “pollution.” Omitting all the B– S—-would any of the Progressives care to tell us why we need a carbon tax other than to never let an opportunity to tax go to waste?

    • “Breaking wind” is highly generated in Montpelier. I hate being politically correct and tell it like it is.

      • I believe you maybe meant to say ‘venerated”. That said, yes, a whole bunch of methane goes to waste daily in Montpelier.

  10. Raising the money from a unilateral, regressive carbon tax that damages most households and puts an additional damper on the near zero, real growth Vermont economy, is one thing, but WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO SPEND ALL THAT money on.

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