Seven Days found an intriguing case study in public policy priorities: “As the state races to build its way out of the housing crisis, much new construction is still incorporating fossil fuel heating systems. That's a big problem, clean energy advocates say, because it adds to a carbon footprint that Vermont must drastically reduce... The 36-unit Stuart Avenue Apartments, owned by Champlain Housing Trust, will be heated by a fossil fuel — natural gas. The relatively low price of gas and easy access compared to other fossil fuels, such as propane and heating oil, made the heating decision an easy one, said Kathy Beyer. For an organization under intense pressure to build housing as quickly as possible amid soaring costs, the cheapest heating option was the developers' only real choice, Beyer said. "Our mission is to build more housing, I'll be very honest about that. If our operating costs are going to go up, it means we're going to build less housing."
Two things are happening this week. Vermont is preparing to sign onto the California Clean Cars II program, which will phase out and ultimately ban internal combustion engine vehicle sales by 2035, requiring that 100% of new cars sold be Zero Emission Vehicles. And Vermont electric utilities are asking Vermonters not to charge their electric cars so as not to overload our electrical grid during the current heatwave. (VBM)
The climate warriors are loudly bemoaning the Supreme Court’s decision in West Virginia v Environmental Protection Agency. The case involved a sweeping bureaucratic edict from the EPA to force electric power plants to cut way back on carbon dioxide emissions.
Depending on what study you choose to look at, Vermont’s business climate is either slightly below average or quite close to last in the US. Just a few days ago, CNBC gave Vermont a #31 ranking. While this rank is a little below average, it is far above where the Tax Foundation placed Vermont just last December: #43. So did Vermont’s Legislature somehow manage to pass enough business-discouraging legislation between December and July that we fell so many spots? While there was some legislation that certainly didn’t help, the immediate answer is “no.”
President Biden signed an executive order directing agencies to take steps to protect access to abortions and the privacy of patients seeking reproductive health services. The order also directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services to make reports and launch a public education campaign on access to reproductive health services.
At the June 6th Windsor Co. Democrats - State Senate Candidate Forum, all three sitting legislators vying for election stated directly or implied heavily that their response to recent Supreme Court decisions (rulings that school choice programs like the one Vermont has had for over a century and a half cannot discriminate against religious schools) would be to end our tuitioning system entirely.
An important provision in the compromise firearms violence package being debated in the U.S. Senate is the extreme risk protection order, or red flag law. At last report the Senate package contains millions of dollars for states to create red flag laws, designed to put firearms out of the reach of individuals deemed likely to use them to harm others.
One of my favorite organizations is Institute for Justice, that defends citizens whose property rights are trampled by governments. One recent case is that of Vicki Baker, who lives in a suburb of Dallas.
Columnist Holman Jenkins of the Wall Street Journal has long been a critic of exaggerated and fictitious claims about the menace of climate change – while at the same time advocating for a global carbon tax to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
On June 7, John Walters posted a piece titled, “What We’ve Lost” on his blog, the Vermont Political Observer, which he describes as “Analysis and observation of Vermont politics from a liberal viewpoint.” Many Vermonters enjoyed Walters “Fair Game” column in Seven Days from 2016-19, which gave us a weekly update on the goings on at the Statehouse.