by Dave Soulia
Think your vote for the Legislature doesn’t matter? You might want to consider the new “red tag” rule that prevents hundreds of Vermonters from filling up their heating oil tanks and shames them in front of anyone with an internet connection. Read on if you value your dignity and privacy.
H571/Act 76, the above ground storage tank rule, was passed in 2016 by a legislature controlled by Democrats and Progressives. We have come to know it as the fuel tank “red tag” rule. Essentially, the “red tag” rule directs fuel dealers to inspect your fuel tank prior to delivering heating oil. If your tank does not meet the standards, as set by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, a red tag is affixed, and you cannot receive heating oil until the tank is brought up to said standards.
The bill, introduced by then Representative Daniel Connor (D), included a section on creating a list of those not in compliance for the fuel dealers. The bill made its way through the philosophically lopsided statehouse and was signed into law by then Governor Peter Shumlin (D). Without any public fanfare, this list was started and made publicly available on the Vermont ANR website! To make matters worse, the list continues to grow as new “red tagged” tanks are discovered and reported. Is this the state government that you want?
For those of you who have yet to vote, please, take a little time and reach out to your current representatives and senators and find out if they voted in favor of this invasion of your privacy. Unfortunately, you will have to take them at their word as they only held a voice vote every step of the way. That means there is no actual record of how they voted. There is no accountability. For the representatives and senators who were not serving then, ask them if they are even aware of “the list.” Again, is this the state government that you want?
I call upon the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources to immediately password protect this list you have created. Our state government must respect and protect the privacy and dignity of the citizens of Vermont!
The author is a candidate for Representative for Rutland-6 (Brandon, Pittsford, Sudbury)