by Don Keelan
David Ismay, an attorney and former senior official of the Massachusetts governor’s administration, is not, I assume, a well-known name in Vermont. However, he should be.
According to Vermont Daily, until February 10, 2021, Ismay was the Massachusetts Undersecretary for Climate Change (with an annual salary of $130,000) working from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. But for remarks in a video conference he allegedly made on January 25, 2021, he had no choice but to submit his resignation to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.
To paraphrase what he stated before a group of Vermonters representing the Vermont Climate Council, “if you want to bring about a reduction in emissions, you will have to turn the screws on homeowners and older people, and break their will.”
According to the Boston Herald’s reporting on the comments, Ismay deeply regrets what he stated before the Vermont Climate Council. Furthermore, the remarks, as reported, were not really what he meant.
Frankly, I don’t really care that Ismay is no longer employed nor how he wishes his comments were interpreted differently. What bothers me is that representatives from the Vermont Climate Council would ever meet with out-of-state-official harboring such views.
If a public official makes such a statement as “turn the screws on them and break their wills” publicly, imagine what he might do privately when dealing with ways to bring about a reduction in gas emissions?
Ironically, David Ismay may have provided us in Vermont with a sense of what is going on within the Vermont Climate Council of which we would otherwise have been unaware. Are certain Council members going outside the State to seek radical ideas that they will eventually look to impose on Vermont’s homeowners and the elderly?
According to Vermont Daily, Governor Phil Scott is dead-set against ever adopting what was stated by the Massachusetts official and conveyed that to the Vermont Climate Council members. This was also confirmed by his appointed Chair of the Council, Secretary of the Agency of Administration, Susanne R. Young.
The unfortunate issue is that the Governor can be out-voted by the Council’s legislative appointed members. And once again, the Vermont Legislature has delegated its rule/policy-making decisions to an agency outside of the Administration. The Council is the latest and one of the dozens that have been created over the years by the Legislature to carry out operations generally expected to be done by the State’s administration.
Whatever the Council’s final decisions for the Legislature are, its report is due December 1, 2021. The decisions will be a hardship to Vermonters if the goal is to reduce our State’s gas emissions by 26% by 2025. And if the recommendations are to adopt an onerous fossil fuel carbon tax with a serious curtailment of fossil fuel use for furnaces, trucks, cars, sporting and maintenance equipment, boating, and car racing, the outcry from many Vermonters will be unpleasant.
What is troubling for many who don’t think of climate change daily is just how bad is Vermont’s impact on the world’s climate situation. In Vermont, transportation generates about 46% of our state’s gas emissions and housing about 20%. Agriculture has an impact as well. But there is no mention whatsoever of tourism.
If my statistics are correct, Vermont has approximately 625,000 residents, and before Covid-19, approximately 13.1 million annual visitors. It will be a huge mistake for officials, who will be imposing restrictions and rules on Vermonters, not to consider the above statistics.
One further suggestion to the Vermont Climate Council is that members of the 23-member Council don’t have to go outside Vermont and seek environmentalists’ advice with radical ideas. Just because our neighboring state wants “to turn the screws on and break their will,” it won’t work in Vermont.
And please, Vermont Climate Council, don’t offer David Ismay a job with your Council.
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