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: 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. 

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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Commentary: No Gasoline Powered Car Ban Until 2035!

A rule progressing through the Scott Administration will require that all Vermont cars, SUVs, minivans and light duty trucks sold or registered in Vermont must be “California compliant”, that is, be electric or possibly fuel cell powered, by the 2035 model year. The state’s environmental machine believes getting rid of carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles will somehow arrest the menace of climate change. It won’t, but it will exterminate consumer choice of what to drive. And of course there’ll be no legislative vote.

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Commentary: The Harrowing Medical Legacy of 9/11

Our collective mind burns with images of the Twin Towers collapsing on September 11, 2001, thousands running for their lives from billows of noxious dust, and New York City shrouded in black smoke and ash. This cataclysm of terror has been imprinted in our cultural memory by gut-wrenching personal stories, videos, photographs, vigils, and memorials. But memories and artefacts alone do not constitute the brutal legacy of  9/11. 

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Commentary: Saving Our Democracy

The Left has made “saving our democracy” a leading election year national concern. But democracy is safe – what is threatened is the Rule of Law, and it has been endangered by Presidents Obama, Trump and Biden alike.

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