If Legislature passes Global Warming Solutions Act, TCI likely to follow

By Guy Page

Supporters of the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) needn’t worry about the Legislature’s cool reception to the unpopular regional carbon tax. If H.688. the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), passes, the TCI will become inevitable.

The GWSA says Vermont must meet stringent carbon emissions reduction goals. And must really means must. GWSA empowers activist environmental lawyers to sue the State of Vermont for failure to meet the goals, and gives judges the power to require compliance.

H.688 (see pg. 20 for original version without ellipses or brackets) specifically outlines how the Legislature would give unelected regulators and judges the power to enforce TCI and any other carbon-reduction measure:

Guy Page

“Any person may commence an action [in Vermont Superior Court] alleging that rules adopted by the Secretary [of the Agency of Natural Resources to meet carbon reduction goals] have failed to achieve the greenhouse gas emissions reductions requirements….If the court finds that the rules adopted by the Secretary…. are a substantial cause of failure to achieve the greenhouse gas emissions reductions requirements… the court shall enter an order directing the Secretary to adopt or update rules that achieve the greenhouse gas emissions reductions requirements.”

Here’s how H.688 would lead to the TCI in real life.

For starters, H.688 says “all State agencies shall consider any increase or decrease in greenhouse gas emissions in their decision-making procedures with respect to…. the planning, design and operation of programs, services, and infrastructure.” That phrase alone gives regulators enormous new power to require emissions reduction in virtually every aspect of operation.

But H.688 doesn’t stop there. It’s got a Climate Cabinet and a Plan.

If H.688 becomes law, a 21-member Climate Cabinet would develop a Plan to mandate carbon emissions 25 percent by 2025, 40% by 2030, and 80% by 2050. Climate Cabinet appointees lacking sufficient zeal might shy away from expensive, unpopular, constitutionally-questionable executive actions like the TCI and shutting off everyone’s refrigerator or hot water heater at times of peak energy usage.

If/when those emissions benchmarks aren’t met, the environmental lawyers will do what lawyers do best: they will sue. If they win, their court costs are covered and the judge must order the regulators to do whatever it takes to meet those goals. Like – for example – the TCI or some other court-imposed carbon tax. It won’t matter, then, if the governor opposes it. It won’t matter if a chastened Legislature opposes it. All that will matter is that an activist lawyer used the powerful statutory tools created in H.688, so thoughtfully provided by the Legislature, to force a judge to force the State of Vermont to force Vermonters to pay more to heat their homes and drive to work.

Vermonters already spend more than $200 million per year on climate change, according to a report by  Sen. Corey Parent (R-Franklin). By comparison we spend about $100 million to pave roads and $50 million for water quality. H688 lead sponsor Rep. Tim Briglin (D-Thetford), chair of House Energy & Technology Committee, straightforwardly promises that enforcing H688 will require significant more “investment” of public funds.

GWSA doesn’t factor in Vermonters’ ability to afford these added costs. It doesn’t consider whether Vermonters would rather spend more public revenue of health care, education, roads, drug prevention and treatment, and public safety. GWSA would take those decisions out of their hands.

But GWSA is not law, yet. For now, the decision rests with the House of Representatives. House Energy & Technology is still taking testimony on the bill. It will likely need review by other committees. While no bill this year is veto-proof, Briglin’s 86 co-sponsors are sending Gov. Phil Scott a message that a veto would face a serious over-ride challenge.

If the GWSA becomes law, Vermonters may well look back at 2020 as the year the state of Vermont fully mobilized for the War on Carbon. Whether the decision is remembered with pride or disillusionment is anyone’s guess.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports at the Vermont Daily Chronicle.

Image courtesy of TNR

7 thoughts on “If Legislature passes Global Warming Solutions Act, TCI likely to follow

  1. The little fascist nazi’s ecowarmers will undoubtedly do it… they get a
    consensus of leftist Harvard ijits to approve and then make it law without
    respect of damage done.. just look at the condition they have put Vermont
    in so far!!! With towns and cities having to make themselves gun sanctuaries,
    I would suggest we add warming hoax sanctuaries devoid of responsibility
    to pay warming scarifies to their warming gods….

  2. Surprise – VT Digger published a rational assessment of Governor Scott’s and the Legislature’s Carbon myopia, by Charlotte physicist Hans Ohanian.
    https://vtdigger.org/2020/02/07/hans-ohanian-carbon-myopia-in-montpelier/?is_wppwa=true&wpappninja_cache=friendly

    Hopefully, the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) hyperbole will be reconsidered and exposed for what it really is…. a money grab by the State and special interest groups who are avoiding any accountability for their actions.

  3. I am amazed that politicos can even consider passing or enacting regulations that would harm their voting constituency. Do they believe they are so strongly entrenched that no one would vote them out. They have a reckoning day ahead. There’s always a price to pay for ones actions.

  4. The state is going down the tubes and all these clowns in Montpelier keep putting the pressure on to make it worse. They think they are in the right but they are killing our economy. Wish they would close up shop and GO HOME before they do any morecdamage!!!!

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