Progressive-backed “Green New Deal” House bills would tax carbon, eliminate all fossil fuel consumption in 31 years

February 27, 2019
by Guy Page
Three Progressive-sponsored bills taking a hard line against carbon and climate change have been introduced into the Vermont House of Representatives this week.

Their introduction comes in the wake of national calls for a Green New Deal. Last week in the Vermont State House, signs taped to walls promoted a meeting for a “Vermont Green New Deal.” At a February 20 press conference members of a pro-renewable power business group called for carbon pricing. Two of the companies – Seventh Generation and Ben & Jerry’s – are owned by multinational conglomerate Unilever, which produces of “sustainable products” and is a corporate leader in climate change initiatives.

None of these bills are likely to meet the March 15 crossover date necessary to be passed into law this year. They could get more attention next year, in the second half of the 2019-20 biennium.

H477 — An Act Related to a Carbon Charge, sponsored by Rep. Diana Gonzalez (P-Winooski), would add a $5 per tonne charge on carbon emissions starting in 2020 and increase to $50 by 2030.

According to a formula in a Vermont Legislative Council tonne/dollar conversion chart, the tax on

heating oil and diesel starts at a nickel/gallon and increases to 51 cents/gallon over the next decade. Gasoline would start at 4.5 cents per gallon and eventually get to 44-cents per gallon. Propane would start at 3 cents/gallon and end up at 29 cents/gallon.
Other H477 sponsors are Rep. Mollie Burke, Rep. Selene Colburn, Rep. Zachariah Ralph, and Rep. Mary Sullivan. Except for Sullivan, all are Progressives.

H.463, sponsored by Reps. Colburn and Gonzalez, would add up to 40-cents a gallon in carbon charges. According to its introductory statement, H463 would adopt a charge on the carbon content of fossil fuels to address climate change and facilitate meeting greenhouse gas reduction goals and to return all of the revenues from that charge to customers on their electric bills.

H.462, sponsored by Colburn and others, mandates the state of Vermont eliminate fossil fuel consumption by 2050. The state of Vermont could be sued if it fails to meet the goal in 2050 or key benchmarks in 2025 and 2035 (25% and 50% of the 1990 baseline). Joining a regional fossil fuel reduction compact would eliminate the need to follow the plan set forth by H462.

Despite its aggressive goals, H462 – like the national Green New Deal – does not endorse nuclear power, New England’s largest carbon-free source of electricity. Just two nuclear facilities – Seabrook in New Hampshire and Millstone in Connecticut – produce more electricity than all New England wind and solar

power combined. Green Mountain Power, the state’s largest utility, in July 2018 received about 27%of its electricity from nuclear power and between 2-6% from solar.

Other energy-related House bills scheduled to be introduced are H.475, electric vehicle incentives; H471, electric vehicle fees and price supports; H468, tax rebate for solar panels; H467, sponsored by Rep. Paul Lefebvre, would place wind turbine siting jurisdiction under Act 250. At present wind farms must undergo Act 248 (energy generation) review.

– Guy Page writes State House Headliners. To receive Statehouse Headliners, email [email protected]. Guy Page and/or Page Communications is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership, the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare, and Physicians, Families & Friends for a Better Vermont. Guy Page is a member of the coordinating committee for the Consumer Liaison Group of ISO-New England, the operators of the regional transmission grid. This piece is re-printed with permission.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Roger Joslin February 27, 2019 at 5:49 pm

When will these people do a little research and find that carbon is NOT causing global warming.


John Mahaffy February 27, 2019 at 7:20 pm

Caught in an endless 1950s show with Edgar Bergen, where he keeps asking, “Vermont, how CAN you be so stupid?” and Vermont says, “Hyuck, hyuck; just lucky I guess.”


Irma Nagle February 27, 2019 at 8:36 pm

Let’s just say that if this passes, I’m outta here. I dont know of one person who is happy about this. You are making it difficult for the elderly to exist in this state. Makes one wonder if your agenda is to get everyone who cant afford to live here anymore, to leave.
Vermont…..the state that I loved, is becoming another Connecticut, New Jersey. Is that where our so called representatives are originally from? If so…they need to go back


Erik Little February 27, 2019 at 11:19 pm

This solves nothing. Because Gas will now be VERY affordable in NH or NY or MA, we’re going to drive to another state, give our money to them, and bypass Vermont’s Taxes and high prices, and then drive through Vermont and the amount of Carbon will stay the same. I wish people from Connecticut and NY would stop ruining their state and then come here to make VT another CT or NY.


Christopher washburn February 28, 2019 at 2:42 pm

The real Vermonters are over burdened as it for this tax for that. What system do you have in mind for transportation to and from the working force of this state being mostly rural?.How are industrial business to run on what kind of energy?what fossil fuel will removed from products that are made and consumed by everyone in everyday of life?are we to revert back to caveman life?i don’t believe this has best interest in the people of vermont or this country think about!


Jim Fitzgerald March 3, 2019 at 2:11 pm

Poor little Vermont will soon be required to solve all the world problems, including global warming if the left wingers in the Vermont legislature have their way. No, not China, no not,India, no not Canada, no not California we will do it alone. I am so sick and tired of Vermont electing these know it all UVM rejects.


JOHN FRARY March 4, 2019 at 11:54 am

And over in Maine Gov. Mills has taken a stand against carbon tax proposals.She’s a liberal, but a generally sane liberal—unless and until ambition force her to pretend she’s stupid.


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