The Vermont Climate Council and their so-called “plan” to cut the state’s greenhouse gas emissions were delt another blow when the national Democrats’ “Build Back Better” spending extravaganza wound up in the policy morgue next to the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI). The “plan” was counting on “free” money from the feds to pay for their wish list of projects which, according to one chart presented at the Council’s December 21 meeting, tops a half a billion dollars.
It is too generous to call what the Vermont Climate Council presented on December 1 a “plan.” A plan would consist of all the major and most of the minor details of how to complete a project, or at the very least a key phase of a project. A plan to build a house, for example, would include an overall design, list of necessary materials, a list of contractors (framers, excavators, carpenters, plumbers, etc.), a thorough understanding of the zoning regulations and permits necessary, a timeline, and – the big one – how much the thing will ultimately cost to complete.
As a bedrock principle of state energy policy, Vermont law requires the Public Utility Commission to specify “strategies for reducing electric rates to the greatest extent possible in Vermont over the most immediate six-year period, for the next succeeding six-year period, and long-term sustainable strategies for achieving and maintaining the lowest possible electric rates over the full 20-year planning horizon consistent with the goal of maintaining a financially stable electric utility industry in Vermont”. Disturbingly however, by requiring highly subsidized wind and solar electricity our elected officials have prevented this law from being followed.
A key component of the Climate Action Plan just put forward by the Vermont Climate Council is a thing they’re calling “The Clean Heat Standard.” This is a convoluted scheme that is in practice a stealth tax on home heating oil, propane, natural gas, and kerosene that will drive up the costs of those products for consumers.
Leafing through a new Cato Institute monograph the other day, titled “How Wealth Fuels Growth: The Role of Angel Investment” by Chris Edwards, I extracted a few useful thoughts.
Just before the Vermont Climate Council voted to pass its Climate Action Plan under the Global Warming Solutions Act, member Sean Brown, who is also Commissioner Department for Children and Families, issued this dire warning for rural Vermonters: