The EAI Blog is a forum for our members and followers to post and share a variety of perspectives on topical issues. We encourage diverse, and civil debate. These opinions do not necessarily reflect the position of the Institute.

Clean Heat Standard Moves to Senate

Debate over the Clean Heat Standard (CHS) bill (H.715) is now in the Senate Committee for Natural Resources & Energy, where members received their first briefings on the legislation today. The notable difference in the senate discussion compared to the house was the evident pressing by members of the Scott Administration (Ed McNamara, General Counsel, Agency of Natural Resources and TJ Poor, Director of Planning, Department of Public Service) for formalizing the need for another vote by the legislative on the final plan put forward by the Public Utilities Commission before the CHS could be implemented.

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Dr. Judith Curry on Ideal Climate

Judith Curry, longtime chair of the climate program at Georgia Tech, published an article two weeks ago that’s worth reading. Here’s an excerpt:

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Message from the New President: The Road Ahead

On March 1, I began my new role as president of the Ethan Allen Institute. I am honored to be a part of EAI's stellar team whose pragmatic solutions and thought leadership infuse much needed color into the gray echo chambers of Vermont policymaking and media. I am especially grateful to my predecessor Rob Roper and the Board of Directors for this important opportunity to shape the next chapter of Vermont’s premier center-right think tank. 

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Vermont House Passes “Clean Heat Standard”

On March 16-17, the Vermont House passed H.715 – the “Clean Heat Standard” (CHS) bill – and sent it to the Senate. The bill directs the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to create and distribute “clean heat credits” to various persons that reduce fossil fuel combustion emissions by 1) improving the energy efficiency of homes and buildings or 2) switch heating systems from fuel oil and natural gas to electric heat pumps, pellet stoves, and biofuels. Fuel distributors will be required to earn or purchase unspecified amounts of these credits. Failure to comply will trigger PUC-imposed fines on non-complying parties.

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Liberty International Leaves California for Texas

One of the few organizations I’m a life member of is Liberty International, a group that organizes summer camps and study groups around the world for young people interested in the theory and practice of liberty. Last week news came from LI that they’re relocating from San Francisco to Texas.

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Legislators Seek to Avoid Accountability for Disastrous Energy Bill

Since January, the House Energy & Technology Committee has been batting about a bill that would impose a “Clean Heat Standard” on consumers of fossil fuels used to heat our homes and businesses. In other words, pretty much all of us.

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Fact Check: ‘Heat Standard is good for fuel sellers and homeowners’

Testifying before the House Appropriations Committee March 9, Rep. Tim Briglin (D-Thetford) showed why he believed the Clean Heat Standard (H.715, likely to be voted on next week) could greatly assist Vermont in meeting its carbon reduction goals, set forth by the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) of 2020. Briglin testified that the Standard could benefit fossil fuel dealers, business owners and homeowners who rely on fossil fuel to heat their homes and businesses. Quite a statement given the backlash there has been!

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VT to Ban Gas-Powered Vehicles by 2035

In 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order banning the sale of most internal combustion engines (ICE) by 2035. The ban will impact 15 other states including Vermont that are legally tied to California’s emissions regulations.

In response to California’s executive order, a new multi-state coalition – represented by the Ethan Allen Institute in Vermont – has formed to raise awareness about these CA-derived regulations and the ICE ban that will negatively impact most of New England.

 

At the March 10 virtual press conference, EAI President offered the following remarks – 

"First, Vermont is not a colony of California. It is anti-democratic and irrational for Vermont lawmakers to cede regulatory authority over our vehicle standards to another state. In 2000, The State of Vermont adopted California’s Low-Emission Vehicle criteria and Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) regulations. Minimizing air pollution by regulating tailpipe emissions is one thing, but imposing a blanket ban on the dominant vehicle technology is another.

Second, technology bans and mandates cannot succeed in the absence of affordable alternatives. Banning gasoline-powered vehicles cannot and will not force a transition to zero-emission vehicles because ZEV technology is not affordable or easily available at present. Electric vehicles (EV) have miles to go before they can compete in the market without the aid of government subsidies and tax credits. Real solutions would focus on improving EV technology, which involves giving the process the time it needs and the space to fail and evolve. Commanding that ICE vehicles become obsolete by 2030 or 2035 achieves nothing but political points.

Finally, in the face of record high gas prices and inflation, Vermont policymakers need to expand choices and not limit our ability to commute to work and put food on the table. The vast majority of Americans don’t have disposable income to ride inflation waves and stick to the (Russian) man – as many in positions of power and influence are demanding. Speaking of moral imperatives, we should not implement policies that will make the average Vermonter poorer.”

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That Big Climate Rally – Opposing the Clean Heat Standard?

Three weeks ago supporters of bold action to defeat climate change, led by Bill McKibben’s 350 organization, held a rally on the state house lawn.  All the terrors of climate change and the plight of our grandchildren were trotted out to prod the legislature to act. What was interesting was that some of the climate warriors present weren’t too keen on what has become the centerpiece of the Climate Action Plan, the Clean Heat Standard.

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