Despathy: Vermonters care for the earth, don’t need Clean Heat Standard

Editor’s note: this op-ed was submitted to many lawmakers before today’s scheduled override vote in the House of Gov. Phil Scott’s veto of H715, the Clean Heat Standard establishing a state bureaucracy to transition heating in Vermont away from fossil fuels.

by Alison Despathy

So many Vermonters and small Vermont businesses are deeply concerned about this legislation and its risks and detrimental impacts. We have been desperately reaching out to implore a halt to this impulsive, hasty, unclear and potentially dangerous legislation. We are trying – so many are trying.

In the garden today, I was thinking about the many amazing Vermonters who are committed to the land and to each other. There is a massive high priority in this state to support local farms, drive less, carpool, use clotheslines, have gardens, homestead and other practices, philosophies and lifestyles that respect the land, the environment and will help ensure abundance and prosperity for the future generations.

Doesn’t this count? Look at what the people are already doing to support and take care of the earth, to live sustainably in the truest sense of the word- to live lightly on the earth. There are so many leaders here who are forging paths for permaculture, regenerative farming, sustainable farming practices, farm to business, farm to school, Community Supported Agriculture programs, alternative energy solutions and system designs and building practices that all work to conserve energy and promote a clean lifestyle. Please recognize what people have been willing to do and want to do to live in concert and connection with the land, our environments and each other. Please trust the people.

These are real solutions. Vermonters are good people and care deeply for the earth and each other and health. Forcing the Clean Heat Standard on the people and small businesses is disastrous on so many levels and really disrespects what the people are already trying to do in the ways that they can everyday. There are not clear rewards on this legislation – for the people or the environment. It is already apparent that these systems will be inefficient and result in higher costs for people and businesses. This is truly concerning to Vermonters and it’s why people have been voicing their opinions and concerns. Please hear us.

There are real solutions, measurable solutions that will help the people, the economy and the environment. Please consider:

-Continued funding and incentives for intensive weatherization programs including windows, insulation and high efficiency diversified, heating systems

-Programs to help Vermonters access efficient appliances.

-Incentives for solar system installs if these are indeed proving to help put energy back into the grid system. Reduced power bills also help many Vermonters.

-Tackling high priority problems that damage our land and water systems such as the high use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers which leach into and contaminate the earth and the people. Programs and aid to help farmers transition out of the use of these chemicals and into more sustainable practices would have a massive impact on the health of the people and the environment.

The Global Solutions Committee is not offering real solutions for Vermont. It is a monster, specifically a hydra because it will keep expanding its power with more unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats who have one focus in mind and that is carbon and reduction of fossil fuels and the regulation of people and industry through this approach. And although this many be one aspect of the problem, real solutions reside in integrated systems that not only reduce energy use but also have noticeable, obvious, science-based benefits on the environment and the people.

The integration of renewable energy is organically evolving in this state while people seek heating and energy systems that are diverse, clean and would also offer coverage in a grid failure. Please allow the ingenuity and creative brilliance of Vermonters to continue to shine through and rise as we lead the country in truly sustainable lifestyles.

The Clean Heat Standard is NOT this, it is NOT a real solution or a good solution. This will cause harm to many Vermonters who are already working hard to live lightly on the earth. This would be a punishment for the people and local economy. This is industry driven legislation, it does not serve the people or the environment. Thus there is no justification.

The author is a St. Johnsbury-based clinical nutritionist.

5 replies »

  1. Clean energy has a place in Vermont, but its quite clear that beaurocrats are using the industry to pad their pockets. Instead of allowing the industry to grow organically, our government uses intervention and forceful policy to demand compliance. The will of government can’t outmatch the will of the people in Vermont. If they continue to introduce forcefull policies and succeed, what is next? We need leadership in Montpelier that leads by example for Vermonters and creates a bridge to our communities, rather than following trends in Washington and ignoring the will of the people. I smell corruption!

  2. my electric bill is $30.00 a month thru frugal use of electricity, my thermostat in the winter is never above 58 degrees and that’s only in the livingroom. I wear sweaters, insulated jeans. I don’t qualify for solar subsidies as I don’t use enough electricity. should I be punished with having the $$$$ burden of switching to solar, or expensive carbon taxes that will punish me for my already frugal use. the above article is how most vermonters feel

  3. Why don’t we try clean government first and see how that goes?

  4. Efficiency vermont is not the answer. A long lasting home needs to breathe. Yes their are detrimental effects caused by producing homes that last half the time of traditional homes. They might take less btu’s to heat but have half the lifespan. Btw….what’s in that sprayfoam insulation? Bureaucracy at work.

  5. What I want to know is – Is there a fund similar to what the nuclear companies had to have to clean up when the closed up? When all the ugly solar panels are rotting and leaching chemicals into our drinking water, who is responsible for the “clean” disposal? Is that our grandchildren’s problem? Nice of us to leave this to them along with our debt.