Climate Caucus Will Prioritize Environmental Policy Over Economic Recovery

May 6, 2020

By Rob Roper

In a video interview with VPRIG, Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas (D-Bradford), who is co-chair of the legislative “Climate Caucus,” promised in reference to a question about the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) and other “green” priorities, “While we’re in a pause in terms of actually advancing any legislation at the moment, we are still talking and thinking about the ways that we can come out of this at a full sprint.”

You can watch the full Video HERE

It’s debatable that GWSA was ever good policy (we would argue it is not) but following an economic shut down bringing about massive unemployment it makes less sense now than ever. Coming out at a “full sprint” to pass this law is in the current economic situation is dangerously delusional.

In her VPIRG interview, Copeland-Hanzas called the COVID-19 response a “practice session” for the GWSA. The way we’re dealing with this pandemic is, to the minds of her and her colleagues, similar to how we should deal with climate change. Indeed, the GWSA is in many ways a less drastic but still harmful version of the COVID-19 economic shutdown. Its goal is to reduce CO2 emissions by eliminating swaths of economic activities that rely on fossil fuels through restrictive regulation or outright bans. Turn off the economic switch. The only difference is with the GWSA, the plan is to leave it off forever.  

Copeland-Hanzas goes on to say that when federal emergency relief dollars flow into Vermont in response to the COVID-19 crisis, they should be spent, “in ways that are advantageous to the climate as opposed to investing them in the same of fossil fuel rut that we’ve been in for the last hundred something years…. Projects like weatherizing homes and projects building out EV infrastructure — charging infrastructure — projects like accomplishing ‘complete streets’ so that you can be a bicyclist or pedestrian along the roadway.” I’m not sure that with small businesses such as restaurants and Main Street shops desperately in need of help and state obligations to education, pensions, the state colleges under increasing financial pressure that new “investments” in bike paths are what Vermonters will be screaming for.

The world has changed since the COVID-19 economic shutdown. The mindset of these Climate Caucus legislators hasn’t.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Fred McCullough May 6, 2020 at 1:24 pm

How much more out of touch can these folks be? Vermont literally has more than enough forest to sequester all of our carbon output (do your own research) yet these people are stuck in control mode. We are essentially bankrupt but they are going into “sprint”? If this isnt a sign to vote these people out, I haven’t seen one.


Irene May 6, 2020 at 2:29 pm

I knew it. Those VT progressives cannot wait to get their greedy grungy hands on all these funds for their climate crazy proposals. Must be VPIRG has been working hard to get into their itty bitty minds what they want the money to go toward – certainly not toward repairing the damage done to the VT Economy. This Climate Caucus legislators must have been drunk or asleep during the past few months – do they not realize the unemployment here in VT? Those Vermonters need help NOW with jobs, not crazy climate proposals. I have just send out a few e-mails to let my friends and other Vermonters what they are up to, so that they will contact their own legislators. The Progressives, the climate caucus MUST not get ONE DIME of this money. Vermonters have bigger needs NOW!


LRanney May 8, 2020 at 12:11 am

The gig is up, legislators, lobbyist need to stop fleecing the VT Taxpayers. Vermonters need legislators to represent us and the needs of Vermonters not the green industry machine


JT Dodge May 8, 2020 at 12:53 pm

Absolutely NOT! Corona virus money should not be spent on implementing Carbon Climate taxation. That is absolute theft Rep. Copeland.


S. Johnson May 8, 2020 at 9:27 pm

I just read a post by Dave Yacovone in our local Front Porch Forum where he whines about our dismal state finances and says our property taxes will have to go up significantly. That in a state that has already the second-highest taxation in all of the US. And now those progressive do-gooders are trying to use the much-needed and not-at-all-sufficient influx of bailout money (which we wouldn’t need if Vermont hadn’t been so fiscally mismanaged to begin with) for bike paths and solar panels for a place with six months of snow. This is unbelievable. I’m just about ready to throw in the towel and move to Texas (or at the very least, New Hampshire).


gdp May 8, 2020 at 10:29 pm

Vote ’em out of office!


Ivan St George May 9, 2020 at 2:17 pm

This is the time for like minded sensibles to get together and run candidates in these districts.
Mrs Hanzas comes from a family of entrepreneurs and she herself is a restaurant operator which is puzzling under the circumstances, so she either has more money than God himself or she is too ignorant (I am being kind) to understand what she is doing to herself and the rest of us.
Something tells me she will come out of this just fine and the rest of us will eat the scraps.


Tom Rood May 9, 2020 at 9:48 pm

I’m willing to bet that, as with the economic shutdown and it’s disasterously negative fallout, if by chance these insane people manage to pass any of their initiatives once we are in their grip, we will wish to hell that we didn’t fight it harder.

Be very careful of what you wish for, climate change pushers.


Donnie May 14, 2020 at 9:13 am

Thank you, Roper, for the awareness video. It is true that the effects of global warming and Covid-19 are highly dangerous. It is high time that we work on reducing the carbon footprint.


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