Despathy: Keep Vermont Cool is not so cool

by Alison Despathy

On Friday, December 2, I attended the Keep Vermont Cool forum in St. Johnsbury. Like many Vermonters, I hold concerns about the risks, unknown impacts and illogical path of Vermont climate policy and felt compelled to raise questions and seek answers.

The lack of clear benefit and measurable outcomes in the Clean Heat Standard raises red flags.  Many representatives believe they can force a system that is proving a failure elsewhere. This demands pause and scrutiny. The plan to ‘tax’ people and small businesses in such a deceptive design lacks integrity and brings financial burden and harm. The CHS is destructive, not constructive, legislation.

CHS was difficult for many legislators to understand. There was no substantial dive into the weeds regarding impacts, ethics, risks, sourcing issues, alternatives, economic burdens, the importance of diversity in options or long term feasibility, especially given the exponential evolution of innovative, energy technologies. It was defeated last session by the lone Democratic vote to uphold the Governor’s veto,

Vermont has 75% forest coverage. Many are committed to living lightly via sustainable stewardship. CHS distracts from the real issues such as water quality, toxic exposures, environmental contaminants, microplastics, and agriculture imbalances – all of which demand priority. These real issues are ignored in the narrow focus on meeting carbon goals. Money that could be spent dealing with real issues becomes wrapped up in adding bureaucratic positions, data collection, analysis and reports – (aka busywork) instead of directly applied to solutions.

With all this in mind, I attended this event hoping to understand the current direction.

Senator Elect Rebecca White, Representative Campbell, St, Johnsbury Selectman Steve Isham, Representative Elect Bobby Farlice Rubio, the Keep Vermont Cool crew and 25-30 local community members attended. Here were my impressions.

I saw a highly superficial, propagandized presentation. No depth, no conversation about details and imperfections. The audience heard a story, a very contrived story, painting the CHS and Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) as pretty as pie. It was actually mentioned that it was a good thing that the state of Vermont could be sued if we fail to meet our carbon reductions. This is the most insane aspect of the GWSA. Vermont has no money to waste in a lawsuit.

The question begs asking – does Vermont have a carbon issue? I have taught human biology and nutrition for over twenty years. From a physical standpoint, carbon is life – literally. The earth has developed intricate systems to naturally store and sequester carbon. 75% of Vermont is forested, forests are the one of the best natural ways to sequester carbon. The earth has mastered this process and with a rich forest floor teaming with mycorrhiza and vast underground fungal networks, near infinite amounts of carbon can be stored for when life, trees, and plants demand. There is a brilliant exchange of carbon and minerals between these fungal networks and the forest.

It is always humbling to see what nature has figured out and mastered. But egos and arrogance often interfere and us humans often think we can do it better.

In addition to some fear mongering and a cherry-picked data presentation, Senator Elect Rebecca White discussed an idea called the Affordable Heating Act (AHA – pretty cute). This was going to be the Affordable CHS? Who was paying? This was never addressed. There was never any explanation about how this racket would work or who would see the collected “tax.”  What percentage would go to the people, the public utilities commission (PUC), the local fuel dealers? Could small, local fuel dealers carry this burden? Would it push them out and make room for global, corporate fuel dealers who could survive due to their size and profits?  Would businesses move out of state? Would residents buy fuel from New Hampshire?

Plain and simple – there was no real conversation. No weeds, instead all rainbows and unicorns. A pretty picture painted about how Vermont was going to save the planet by enacting this legislation especially now with a super, super majority and a heavy, party line voting pattern.

I brought up the lack of biofuel caps from last session. I was told this was being addressed.

But see – that is the problem.

Why was it not addressed last session? Why was it voted through by many without resolution of these inherent problems? This epitomizes the impulsive and destructive nature of the CHS.

Next, we broke into groups, I brought up the green washing issues, specifically regarding the Public Utilities Commission’s  recently approved purchase of toxic landfill gas (biogas) from British Petroleum in New York which would essentially offer carbon credits to be sold to California and Oregon. This is not a real environmental solution. Is this what Vermont climate policy looks like?

In the last Q and A, I spoke to the devastating and vast environmental and social injustices related to mining cobalt and lithium in order to source material for this electric Vermont. Destroying the earth and supporting human rights abuses is never justified. This is a deeply ethical issue that demands acknowledgment and address. We are the only ones who will resolve this issue. We know corporations will not unless pressured by the people. History has taught us that.

This topic is where I met the most opposition. Not from the attendees, but from several elected officials. Representative Campbell stood up and essentially said the earth was burning up and we needed to move forward. He kept interrupting me, fortunately the attendees asked that I be able to finish speaking.

Next came Selectman Isham who very angrily said the only reason people say this is to slow the process down. Well, yes – that is exactly the point. Abusing people and destroying environments is not how we solve a problem.

I am not really sure what Keep Vermont Cool is selling and I don’t think they know either. Dealing with real environmental issues in Vermont is a priority. Playing the corporate carbon game, “taxing” the people and small businesses to force a system is detrimental and gets us nowhere.  It is worth noting that Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG) who launched Keep Vermont Cool currently has over 40 lobbyists registered in Vermont heavily pushing this agenda.  I urge you to consider attending one of these Keep Vermont Cool forums and ask the real questions, encourage the deep dive. We deserve answers, clarity and accountability. Mob rule based on propaganda, zealotry and ideology is dangerous and destructive to Vermonters and Vermont.

The author is a clinical nutritionist in St. Johnsbury.

Categories: Commentary

12 replies »

  1. Good job Alison for standing up for the truth and resisting tyranny!!Thankyou Representative Elect Caledonia Charles Wilson

  2. The answer is the New World Order. The WEF and Trevor Noah Harai. The entire narrative has nothing to do with climate. It has everything to do with power and control. They will not answer logical or ethical questions because their plan is not logical or ethical. Why are so many corporations and governments involved in the same narrative? They are building an industry behind it hidden in plain sight (Calian Advanced Technologies is one.) Why are churches silent and complying with government directives and narratives? Daniel 7:25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

  3. When Air Force 1 runs on electricity generated by the wind turbines on it, and “The Beast” is covered by solar panels, I’ll figure there is more to this than virtue signaling. Until then, throw another tire on the fire, it’s getting cold in here !

  4. All good points. This policy looks and feels like the rush to defund the Burlington police – look at those results. When will our politicians start doing their home work before jumping into uninformed policies. Hearings are for learning about concern, and then addressing them. If all we get from them are interruptions and abuse they are not doing useful.

  5. IF carbon equals global warming, and IF global warming is happening on a dangerously accelerated scale, then tiny, forested Vermont, with a population of 650,000 isn’t even remotely the problem. Look to China, India and Indonesia, comprising nearly half the world’s population, with egregious environmental standards. Maybe, just maybe… that’s where the problem lies. And you’re talking billions of people. About four billion, which makes this heroic Keep Vermont Cool endeavor about 0.01% of the solution. Yay! We’re going to save the planet! These hysterical, emotional, virtue signaling idiots are going to do everything they can to make living in Vermont far too expensive and frankly, dangerous. Electric cars and electric heat are for suburban Hellscapes. Not places like Vermont, where the power goes out on a regular basis, and costs an arm and a leg. And that’s to say nothing of temperatures below zero and snowstorms like today’s, where I might expect close to two feet. These absolute clowns will try to ban woodstoves next, like their communist heroes in New Yawk City, or on the West Coast, mark my words. And them’s fightin’ words.

  6. These enviro-Nazis can ignore reality, but the consequences of ignoring reality will inevitably catch up with them. A look at what’s happening in Europe will show where we are headed.

  7. The CHS is wholly unnecessary based on modern understanding of the actual diminishing effects of carbon dioxide emissions, the lack of ANY proven correlation between Earth’s natural warming and the proven beneficial effects of today’s CO2 level. It is completely a virtue signaling exercise.
    Any implementation of the CHS should only be done AFTER providing detailed line x line proposals, completing detailed cost impact studies, life impacts for the residents with validated estimates of (measurable) impact on global warming /CO2 levels. An actual cost – benefit analysis! Imagine that?
    The impact from Vermont will be immeasurable as it is completely obscured. (
    Vermont is already the lowest emitter in the US! The entire Inflation Reduction Act’s impact on the US is forecast to provide 0.0009 and .028 deg. F reduction in temperature by 2100 (for about $400,000,000,000)!

  8. Read yesterday that Africa will supply 1/4 of the world population by 2075 and 1/3 by 2100. 4 billion, new middle class consumers requiring that much more energy. Dung, wood, charcoal and “renewables” won’t meet the needs. Good old fossil fuel to continue to supply the worlds energy needs economically. Alison please keep us advised when this freak show is on so more of us can go and “Ask questions”.

  9. After all, a majority of actual climatologists (50/60) in America DO NOT agree that burning fossil fuels causes global warming.Public policy should be based on facts not on speculation.

Leave a Reply