Commentary

Keelan: The season of giving with fossil fuel fees

By Don Keelan

Who expected the giving season to come in November rather than December? More surprising is the giver, the Governor’s Offices of Massachusetts and Connecticut. What a wonderful present, especially to those of us who are fossil fuels users.

Don Keelan

On November 15,Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, a Democrat, and his Massachusetts neighbor Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, announced their states were pulling out of the 12-state TCI Agreement.

For those unfamiliar with the acronym TCI, it stands for Transportation and Climate Initiative, a euphemism (if there ever was one) for charging fossil fuel dealers within a 12-state area an additional 10 cents a gallon. And, we are all aware that once an assessment is on the books, there is no limit to how high it might go.

Two years ago, those who were dead-set against fossil fuels for transportation, and eventually home-heating and cooking oil, pushed to create an arbitrary incentive to change by assessing fuel dealers a fee.

Governor Phil Scott, a Republican, saw the initiative’s true meaning and rejected it as being too costly to Vermonters. Furthermore, he was not interested in outsourcing the taxing of Vermont residents.

According to Vermont Daily Chronicle‘s reporting of September 30, 2021, Scott believed that he might not control the issue if the Vermont Climate Council (an ardent supporter of the TCI) had its way. The Governor need no longer be concerned: his Massachusetts and Connecticut colleagues have done the deed for him.

What is revealing about our neighboring governors’ actions is that the legislation to adopt TCI failed in their Legislature, as well as Rhode Island’s. Note that Democrats control all three Legislatures. The underlying reason was that their citizens were hard-hit from the geometric increase (over 50%) in fossil fuel cost in the prior ten months. But, there could be another reason, as reported in The Wall Street Journal of November 21; the paper noted that what took place on November 2 in New Jersey (and in Virginia) was not lost on the politicians. The issues that voters are concerned with are increasing costs for fuels, food, health care, and housing, not to mention the uncertainty over Covid, education, and the overall economy.

TCI was, for those adamant about their “Climate Armageddon” cause, to get the Northeast region off fossil fuels. They attempted this by assessing a fee (tax), and as a committee, allocating back the monies collected to the 12 states (and D.C.)  to convert/use electric devices. The assessment would impact the dealers who provide the fuels, who, of course, would then pass the additional cost onto their customers. So much for representative government.

Nevertheless, my joy over an early holiday present might be short-lived. In December, a report is due from the 23-member Vermont Climate Council. If rumors are true, the recommended mandates to meet the State’s goal of reducing its 2005 carbon emissions by 26% by 2025 will be costly, divisive, and unsettling.

Politicians and government officials should heed what took place on November 2, for a repeat could be in the offering next November.

The changing climate is a fact and needs to be addressed. However, it should be through education and incentives, not through dictates and mandates from those who are not elected but relish wielding power and control over our lives.

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3 replies »

  1. “On November 15,Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, a Democrat, and his Massachusetts neighbor Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, announced their states were pulling out of the 12-state TCI Agreement”.
    So what should we be able to glean from this ? That our lawmakers are loonier than those in Mass, and Conn. ? That our lawmakers are loonier than those in any other state is evident every year when they convene under the “Golden Dumb” and proceed with the yearly goal of surpassing the lunacy of the previous years record. Our legislators remind me of the old Monty Python skit about the race of the village twits ! The saddest part of the situation is that evidently the electorate in each district think the problem is everybody else’s legislator, not mine, as they just keep sending the same herd of loons back to Montpelier ! Somebody else ! and TERM LIMITS !!!!!!

  2. Where’s these Governor’s electric cars? They ALL put the Goober in Gubernatorial, what happened to Bernie & his new “Hydrogen Economy”? Didn’t the hydrogen cars emit only water vapor? Or was there DEADLY CO2 being emitted also? At least they made sense, like propane powered fork-trucks, that you got real RANGE, heat/defrost, & power without having to wait 20-40 minutes at some “charging station”. Scott’s now “touting” electric buses when they have FAILED in cities like Philly, Duluth, Indianapolis, ABQ, etc. due to issues like heating, range, hills, etc. as they just can;t CUT it..And where’s all this electricity going to come from? Sure, we have Hydro Quebec but where’s the base load for ALL this, where’s the money for heat pumps, super insulation, etc. and best yet, WHERE’s China, India, & Russia? Oh I get it! WE foot the bill & go broke while the BIGGEST emitters do diddly-squat! There ARE inaccuracies in this article, most glaringly calling Gov. Baker (Biden calls him “Parker”) & Scott “republicans” as they are most assuredly NOT, just Trump-Hating America-Last proponents.

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