Climate posse should let pandemic pass

By Don Keelan

A 23-member posse galloped into being a week before the elections and held its organizational meeting Nov. 20

The “posse” is the creature of the recently passed Vermont legislation, the Global Warming Solutions Act, which survived Gov. Phil Scott’s veto.

Don Keelan

The legislation allows the Speaker of the House of Representatives to appoint to the posse eight members; the Lieutenant Governor seven; and the Governor another eight with one of his appointments as the Vermont Climate Council’s Chair.

The former two leaders wasted no time in doing so. On the other hand, the Governor appointed almost all of his senior cabinet members to the Council.

Several interesting events occurred since the council member appointments. The speaker, president pro tempore of the Senate, and the lieutenant governor will no longer be in office beginning Jan. 1. The electorate was unsympathetic to them.

What is also interesting, and expected, is that not one member of the posse is from Southwestern Vermont.

The term posse is quite fitting with its definition of “a force with legal authority.”

Make no mistake; the council will take full advantage of such authority.

To begin with the posse has until Dec. 1, 2021, to submit a list of regulations to the Agency of Natural Resources on how it plans to have Vermont’s carbon gas emissions reduced by 26 percent no later than 2025.

It has been noted that this reduction could equate to the elimination of 50,000 residential fossil fuel heating units along with 130,000 automobiles.

Let’s be practical for a moment and use some common sense. Just how would such a draconian measure ever be allowed? This poorly conceived deadline, completely lacking in transparency, should, at a minimum, be postponed if not discarded. At this writing, Vermonters are sick with fear.

And how can it be that the climate extremists do not see this? Another severe cluster of Covid-19 is working its way around Vermont: Vermonters are urged to cancel holiday vacations and family visits; many wonder if their children will continue in school; or if they will have employment.

Additionally, hundreds of small businesses question if there will be winter tourism after witnessing a much less-than-desirable summer and fall foliage season.

If Vermont waits to address the reduction of gas emissions for another year, so be it. It will not make an iota of difference to the world’s effort to reduce such emissions. But, it will make life for tens of thousands of Vermonters less stressful.

The legislature is adding stress factors by mandating that the VCC adopt, within the next four years, measures that will either take funds from those who use fossil fuels or, worse, mandate them to discontinue fossil fuel equipment/vehicles/heating elements.

If there is a bright spot, it is that Gov. Scott appointed his eight senior cabinet officials to the Council. Hopefully, they will be too busy working on healthcare, education, the economy, and the pandemic to waste time attending fruitless Council meetings.

It is no coincidence that all three state leaders who campaigned vigorously for the VCC, Zuckerman, Mitzi Johnson and Tim Ashe, were rejected by the voters.

On the other hand, Scott captured the largest vote in Vermont’s history: the climate extremists and their allied lobbyists need to recognize what Vermonters are telling them, back-off for now.

Scott, while the State of Vermont is still operating under a State of Emergency, kindly disband the posse. It has no constructive purpose at this time and only adds stress to an already over-whelmed population. It was recently noted in the press that you might bring legal action in the courts for this purpose.

Please, do so quickly.

Don Keelan lives in the Bennington County town of Arlington. This is his first column for Vermont Daily, and his 472nd overall since 2003. He is published bi-weekly in the Bennington Banner and Manchester Journal.