Meg Hansen, John McClaughry and David Flemming write 40+ commentaries a year discussing the most pressing public policy issues in Vermont. These are published online and in newspapers throughout the state, including VT Digger, the Caledonian Record, the Rutland Herald, the St. Albans Messenger, the Bennington Banner, Vermont Biz, TrueNorthReports, Times Argus, the Eagle Times and Vermont Daily. If you see an EAI commentary in your local newspaper, shoot us an email! And if you don't see our commentaries in your local papers, let your newspaper editors know.

Commentary: Third of Climate Proposals Unscientific and Unaffordable

When I heard that David Hill of the Energy Futures Group was scheduled to present its model to Vermont’s Climate Council two months ago, I was skeptical. The Climate Council’s plan, released in December 2021, seemed to rely heavily on a “Social Cost of Carbon” to justify future climate proposals.  

Read more

Commentary: Return of the Johnstown Flood

Searching for an arresting metaphor for the approaching legislative session, I found a compelling example, as described by contemporaneous reports.

Read more

Commentary: In Praise of the Uncommon

All of us have heard, perhaps many times, complimentary references to the so-called “common man.” He (or she) is widely regarded as praiseworthy simply because of his sameness, as if being virtually indistinguishable from millions of others is a good thing. I don’t buy it. I prefer to encourage uncommonness.

Read more

Commentary: Deadline almost here for new climate action rules

Vermont’s Global Warming Solutions Act gives statutory authority for rulemaking to the Agency of Natural Resources. The secretary of that agency has until Dec. 1, 2022, to adopt rules to meet the 2025 emissions reductions requirements in the Vermont Climate Action Plan. 

Read more

Commentary: Three Useful Election Law Improvements

With the 2022 election out of the way, it’s a good time to take a serious look at proposals for improving election laws.  Here are three of my longtime favorites.

Read more

Commentary: Democracy Requires an Informed Electorate

Too often candidates for office traffic in carefully scripted evasions and Sugar Plum Fairy promises. For democracy to work, the people need to make office seekers defend their record and tell what they will do ‘once elected. As our Constitution declares, “all officers of government, whether legislative or executive are the people’s trustees and servants, and at all times, in a legal way, accountable to them.”

Read more

Commentary: Climate Plan’s Costs Are Real. Savings, Not So Much.

Listening to the presentation to the Climate Council on the cost savings they are claiming will be associated with the Climate Action Plan (CAP), I was reminded of the classic scene from Caddyshack where Bill Murray’s character tells the story of his compensation for a round with Dalai Lama: “Oh, there won’t be any money,” says the Lama, “But when you die, on your deathbed you will receive total consciousness.”

Read more

Commentary: Working Out of the Housing Crisis

Over the past fifty years affordable housing for working families has been thwarted by a growing web of regulation at the behest of a wide range of interests. If Vermonters want more such housing – and that’s a debatable proposition – we’ll have to backtrack to give home builders a fair chance to deliver their product.

Read more

Commentary: Marketing the Climate Catastrophe Narrative

At the VPIRG 50th anniversary celebration last week Climatologist Katharine Hayhoe explained how to sell the climate catastrophe narrative to listeners who don’t want to believe it. Her use of scary weather events on television screens poses a serious question of being effective or being honest.

Read more

Commentary: Shrinking Vermont’s abysmal minority voting gap

In 2020, about 20% of Black citizens voted in Vermont’s general election, well short of a Census-estimated 70% of white Vermonters. That’s the second largest gap in the country. 

Read more