Robbing economic rescue to fund Climate Plan

By Rob Roper

The Vermont Climate Council and their so-called “plan” to cut the state’s greenhouse gas emissions were dealt another blow when the national Democrats’ “Build Back Better” spending extravaganza wound up in the policy morgue next to the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI). The “plan” was counting on “free” money from the feds to pay for their wish list of projects which, according to one chart presented at the Council’s December 21 meeting, tops a half a billion dollars.

Rob Roper

So, what to do? Council member Richard Cowart proposed the following language for the formal recommendation to the legislature: “Due to the urgency of the climate crisis we urge the legislature … that the opportunity to invest ARPA funds be seen through the lens of taking actions to address Vermont’s climate goals. That ARPA isn’t just about recovery from the [Covid economic] crisis in the usual course of business. We are urging looking at this through the lens of climate change.”

Except that’s not what the American Rescue Plan (ARPA) is for. At all.

The White House’s information page on ARPA list three primary bullet points for what the money under this plan should be used for:

  • Mount a national vaccination program, contain COVID-19, and safely reopen schools.
  • Deliver immediate relief to American families bearing the brunt of this crisis.
  • Support communities that are struggling in the wake of COVID-19.

Nothing there about climate change.

ARPA funds are supposed to be used to deal directly with the emergency conditions caused by the pandemic and the government response to it. It is supposed to ensure our schools can remain open and safe, and it doesn’t look like we’ve met that goal to the point where we should be syphoning off those resources to subsidize our neighbor’s purchase of a new Prius.

ARPA funds are supposed to provide “emergency grants, lending, and investment to hard-hit small businesses so they can rehire and retain workers and purchase the health and sanitation equipment they need to keep workers safe.” How do the shops and restaurants on your Main Street look in the wake of Covid lockdowns and mask requirements? Ready to give up their promised economic life jackets so the money can be shifted to “urban tree planting” projects under the Climate Action Plan?

This money was promised to people and businesses harmed by pandemic for the purposes of economic recovery. We can argue whether or not the national debt incurred to cover ARPA payments was worth it in hindsight, and if there is money left over it should be returned to the taxpayer (or used to pay back the debt it is responsible for). But one thing should not be on the table – spending the money on a bunch of stuff it was not intended to fund. If this were to happen in the private sector it would be called fraud. The Climate Council should be ashamed for suggesting it, and our legislature should loudly declare it will have no part of it.

– Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Categories: Commentary

9 replies »

  1. I am not surprised to find out that the Vermont Climate Council believes that they can take money legally earmarked for Vermonters impacted by COVID-19. I can only assume that this council is unaware that the DOJ is conducting fraud investigations and plans to issue fraud indictments on entities that used CARES ACT money for purpose other than what these funds were approved for.

  2. I no longer believe that “climate change “ is due to our use of fossil fuels. Climate is so much bigger than us. The sun and it’s cycles are way more powerful than anything we humans can do, short of blowing up the world with nukes.

    Climate change programs and carbon taxes and all the rest are just fear mongering intended to make some serious money for some entities while depriving us of our freedom. No different than the fear mongering of Covid which has made some quite rich while destroying small businesses and depriving us of our freedoms.

    • I saw a presentation by Dr. Shiva, according to the good doctor the global warming/carbon tax is a ponsey sceme that will redistribute wealth from one nation to another, making select world leaders richer.

      I agree with your thoughts on global warming. People need to consider natural events, such as volcanic eruptions.

    • Glad you came to the realization that man made climate change is mostly a hoax. Big cities such as Atlanta do, however, have a localized impact on the climate. Mitigating the impact of changing conditions should be the focus. Buildings in locations where tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, etc. should be built to prevent damage. The technology is available.

  3. One way that demoprogs show how they “celebrate diversity” is by diversifying long-established definitions. Expanding the social service safety net/hammock is now considered “investing in human infrastructure” and COVID recovery spending is now expanded to include climate change mitigation…so inclusive…

  4. Mr. Cowart tells us “Due to the urgency of the climate crisis we urge the legislature” to divert money from the ARPA monies to fund Vermont’s climate change plan.

    What Cowart doesn’t say is that if all of Vermont’s climate goals are 100% achieved it will have no impact on mitigating climate change. Why is there no discussion of this reality by Cowart when asking that millions of dollars be diverted from the ARPA to climate change?.

    On December 7, 2020, Vermont Rep. Scott Campbell sent me an e-mail stating: “Let me start by repeating that no one, least of all me, believes Vermont can stop climate change — or even affect climate change.” There have been similar opinions voiced by others to include President Biden’s Climate Czar John Kerry on the ability of the entire total United States not having any impact.

    Rep. Scott Campbell was on the Vermont House Committee dealing with climate change. He and others on the Committee heard all of the expert testimony related to climate change and concluded that Vermont cannot stop or even affect climate change, thus he should be considered an informed person regarding mitigating climate change in Vermont. Rep. Campbell’s view on this cannot be ignored at a time when Cowart is asking that money be diverted from ARPA or any other sources.

    Before any money is diverted or spent on fighting climate change, the issue of what Vermont can actually accomplish must be publicly and objectively addressed. Strong views say nothing can be accomplished by Vermont in mitigating climate change. These views cannot be ignored.

    What Mr. Cowart, the Governor, the Legislature, the Climate Council and all responsible Vermonters must now ask before getting any money is: What will spending billions of dollars actually accomplish to mitigating climate change?

    • Governor Scott has already answered your question, with his veto. Likewise, the legislature also answered with their veto override. The Vermont Climate Council, such as it is, is unable to answer your question as they have no accountability to anything other than the stated goal of carbon reduction at any cost. The progressives, socialists and democrats that were elected to the legislature own the resulting mess and carnage they created. Until an adult tells these petulant legislators that ARPA dollars are off limits, it’s “Game On”. Whether the courts- or we as voters hold them accountable in less than 11 months, remains to be seen. Either way the amount of dollars spent by “green” lobbyists in Vermont should be staggering in 2022.

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