By Maxford Nelsen
The legislative process can be quite effective at screening out bad ideas, but sometimes, by accident or design, flawed policies still make it through.
As the Vermont legislature shepherded the Global Warming Solutions Act into law, we at the Ethan Allen Institute pointed out some of the many possible places the law could lead: the banning of ATVs, snow machines, and other fossil fuel burning recreational vehicles, the banning of gas powered lawnmowers and lawn maintenance equipment, fireplaces and barbeques, etc. One of the red flags we raised concerned oil and gas heating systems and the possibility that they could be banned from new construction, renovation, or with the sale of a property. Well, on that front Burlington has fired the first shot.
For the past two years, how many times have we had to hear from Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) advocates that Vermont’s 2005 goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions “lack teeth,” and this dentally challenged nature of our policies is why Vermont has consistently failed to meet those goals. We need big, sharp, serious teeth! And those teeth were going to be the citizen lawsuit provision of the GWSA. This allows that if Vermont isn’t on track to meet the targets in the law, “any person” can sue the state at taxpayers’ expense.
Here’s just a sampling of the bicuspid obsession from the last biennium…
In this era of racial turmoil and violent protests, it’s good to see something constructive emerging. My leading example is the 1776 Project. It was launched by a longtime friend of mine for forty years, Robert Woodson Sr., to counter the 1619 Project that the New York Times launched last year to explain that America is forever defined by slavery, and that all white people are guilty of incorrigible racism.
Live ballots for the Vermont general election are in the mail and on their way to every active voter on the statewide checklist. Since coming up with this vote-by-mail scheme in response to Covid-19, Secretary of State Jim Condos has argued that it will work because other states have been operating vote-by-mail programs for years without any major problems.
Two weeks ago, when Gov. Scott was about to veto the Global Warming Solutions Act, the media was quick to interview activists strongly opposed to the veto – but of course at least to my knowledge the media didn’t bother to interview anyone outside the Scott administration who had said for nine months that this bill was really bad for Vermont.
When Vermont’s Global Warming Solutions Act was being debated on the House floor, one member asked Rep. Tim Briglin (D-Thetford), chair of the committee reporting the bill, if under the GWSA the Agency of Natural Resources would have the ability to ban the internal combustion engine. Briglin said “yes,” but that it wasn’t likely. Well, California, a state with its own GWSA demanding greenhouse gas reductions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 – same as Vermont -- just announced it would be banning the sale of internal combustion engine cars and trucks by 2035.
Kudos to True North Reports for doing what the Secretary of State’s office and/or the Attorney General’s office refuse to do in Jim Condos’ unprecedented, Wild West, mail-everybody-a-ballot election, and that is create an online portal to report suspicious election activity.