Roper: Are some on the Left realizing VT Climate policy is a useless waste?

Two radical environmentalist pundits so conclude (perhaps unwittingly).

by Rob Roper

A couple of left-wing columnists recently penned articles lamenting the fact that Montpelier keeps flooding every decade or so, yet local and state governments don’t do anything about it and aren’t prepared for it when it happens. A keen observation.

Kevin Ellis in his piece quoted a Montpelier restaurateur as saying, “We pay a lot of taxes to the city and the state, and this keeps happening over and over. I cleaned out our basement with a bunch of high school kids. It was totally dangerous. Where was the help from the government?’’

Well, the “help” from the government came in the form of all those electric car charging stations, EV rebates, and subsidies for renewable electricity generation. The Vermont state policy for dealing with changing climate is to lower our carbon footprint so that these kinds of extreme weather events don’t ever happen. We spend around $250 million a year on these programs. You’re saying it’s not working out?

Ellis asks, “Why do we continue to build along a river that floods?”

That I can answer! Because it’s a central part of Vermont’s environmental policy as well as the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) you and all your alarmist pals praised to the high heavens as it was being crafted and passed over the Governor’s veto.

To quote Vermont’s Climate Action Plan (CAP), “For the past 50 years, Governors, state agencies, the General Assembly, non-profit advocacy groups, regional entities, and cities and towns have worked collectively and intentionally to strengthen Vermont’s downtowns and villages and the state’s historic settlement pattern of compact centers surrounded by farms and forest lands (P.223, emphasis added).” And to be clear, the historic pattern for compact settlements in Vermont is to put them in floodplains.  

The CAP also states, “Compact settlement, sometimes referred to as ‘smart growth’ [LOL, the irony!], is a key strategy for addressing climate change (P.219).” And, given this key strategy we should, “Support public private partnerships to fund the design and construction of new infill housing in existing neighborhoods.” Yes, the ones in the floodplains. And, “Expand the eligibility of the existing downtown and village center tax credit programs to revitalize neighborhood housing in and around state designated centers,” that are in floodplains.

The reason behind this policy strategy of funneling as many of us citizens (and our stuff) as possible into Mother Nature’s aquatorial kill zones? They think if you’re forced to live in a “compact urban center” you’ll give up your car and walk or bike to work, the grocery store, etc., lowering your carbon footprint to save the planet – but not your house, which will be destroyed the next time the Winooski overflows its banks.

This is just Vermonters “doing our part” to show the world we know how to combat climate change so others will follow our example. If they are paying attention at all, what must they be thinking now?

The other pundit of note to weigh in on the watery state of affairs in the Capitol City is Dave Gram, who offers up a Simpsons-esque plan to basically move the entirety of Montpelier to higher ground. Though I tease, and all of what he suggests is far beyond the realm of possibility, which he admits himself, Gram’s idea that the old College of Fine Arts property, elevation 664 feet, be re-developed as a shopping or mixed living area has merit, if the property is still available. I can totally see converting that quad into a tastefully landscaped shopping/dining area with eight or ten shops, maybe anchored by a relocated Bear Pond Books and Positive π. Perhaps a less rapey co-op grocery store option.

This makes a lot more sense than Ellis’ proposal for building some sort of New Orleans or Holland style system of levies, dykes and pumps to keep nature at bay.  But I applaud both writers for, perhaps unwittingly, coming to the conclusion that practical adaptation to a changing climate makes a whole lot more sense than trying to stop the weather through what is essentially the modern-day practice of making sacrifices to the gods. “Here, Poseidon, I offer you my SUV. Please spare me from your rage.”But be aware that either of these erstwhile leftists’ proposals will be dead on arrival at the hands of the very environmental activists Gram and Ellis have done so much to support because raising Montpelier up ten feet, moving all or part of it, or protecting it with massive sea walls and pump systems will all require substantial amounts of fossil fuel operated machinery and carbon-intense building materials and practices to accomplish. Can’t do this and achieve the GWSA greenhouse gas reduction goals at the same time! So, sorry, boys.

Moreover, these types of preparations will also require a lot of private and public dollars, which will require a booming economy to generate and an expanding labor force to implement – things states and countries that have adopted extreme CO2 reduction policies like our GWSA do not have. Quite the opposite.

Gram concludes his piece, “We recognize — and now must act on this recognition — that we can’t keep doing things the way we have been.” He’s correct. And what we’ve been doing is prioritizing greenhouse gas reduction over adaptation and preparation as a policy for dealing with extreme weather events. So, yes, let’s stop doing this. Today.

Rob Roper is a freelance writer who has been involved with Vermont politics and policy for over 20 years. This article reprinted with permission from Behind the Lines: Rob Roper on Vermont Politics,

Categories: Commentary

21 replies »

  1. This is what happens when you have leftist fools in charge and nothing
    will change as they keep making asinine policies………………..

    Wake up people, before it’s too late, as stated above “Stupid is as stupid
    does ” and we have a Government full of stupid !!

  2. “but not your house, which will be destroyed the next time the Winooski overflows its banks…”

    And what happens next? Assuming you have flood insurance, you will have to rebuild according to the green mafia’s standards, which raise building costs astronomically. (These are the “good jobs” Brandon keeps talking about)

    Many people won’t be able to afford this and may not rebuild. Then the green mafia’s capo di tutti, Blackrock, will swoop in and offer you 10 cents on the dollar for your wrecked home. If that. Welcome to the endgame.

  3. Rob, You came so close to the solution, the solutions presented were applaudable. However, the next step is to repeal the GSWA and used the “surplus “ to finance those changes.

  4. Here’s an idea. Just carve Montpelier out, set it on top of a big blob-float, and launch it off into the sea. Appoint Kevin Ellis and David Gram as blob-float co-captains. We’ll all be relieved, and infinitely better off.

  5. Well if they keep fogging the clouds, its gonna keep raining. Those that have the so called solutions are the same people purposely creating the problems. Job security you could say.

  6. Is part of the dynamic that act 250 is aimed at keeping folks from doing any thing up-slope? The rational is apparently that it might be aesthetically displeasing to ???? someone?? Haven’t Switzerland and several alps countries mastered the engineering to put buildings on all kinds of slops? Can Vermonters be unleashed to start moving up-land?


  7. As with most progressive strategies, VT Climate policies are like most others they promote. Be it the minimum wage, subsidized healthcare, housing, or the granddaddy of them all, public education (an oxymoron if there ever was one), it’s dysfunction that pays the bills. If any of these policies were ever successful, the need for government intervention would end. Therefore, the last thing a progressive wants to see is an independent and free population.

    The question is why do progressives think this way? And I can only speculate at what state of mind resides in the typical progressive – they are, after all, individuals too (whether or not they might agree). I suspect progressives are over-stressed by the incompetence resulting from their policies. They are fearful and confused. And it appears further that they are trying to project their condition onto everyone in order to rationalize it. They desperately want to convince themselves, and everyone else, that they are ‘normal’ – when, according to several peer reviewed studies, they are just the opposite.

    The ‘solution’ is, of course, more independent thinking. Which means less government and less enabling of it by those who profit from the progressive dysfunction. But because any successful person, acting in a merit-based establishment, demonstrates the failures of progressive dystopia, they won’t stop short of doing anything to prevent the rest of us from surviving.

  8. As a rule of thumb, maybe consider that once you’ve applied a left/right dichotomy to individuals and proposed courses of actions that you’ve already admitted that you really don’t have anything worthwhile to say?

    • As a rule of thumb? Really? On which hand? The right or the left?

      This dichotomous observation (if it is even that) is an example of ‘relativism’ … a philosophical tar pit… meaningless, except to show us what meaninglessness is, so it can be avoided.

      Speaking of VT Climate Policy again, in case anyone has been distracted:

      August 12, 2023
      Princeton, MIT Scientists Say EPA Climate Regulations Based on a ‘Hoax’

      Regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s new rules to cut CO2 emissions in electricity generation –

      “Citing extensive data to support their case, William Happer, professor emeritus in physics at Princeton University, and Richard Lindzen, professor emeritus of atmospheric science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), argued that the claims used by the EPA to justify the new regulations are not based on scientific facts but rather political opinions and speculative models that have consistently proven to be wrong.“

      How’s that for a left/right dichotomy?

  9. Snowflakes melt in flood water and in the heat of a lightbulb firing in their propaganda force-fed minds post flood. It’s called a land grab. The fires in Maui have many looking past the “official” reports to the fact the land that was charred to a crisp belongs to natives. The same natives who refused to sell their land to the elites. So much for DEI and coexisting – the indigenous Hawaiians were just burned out of their land, businesses and homes. Here, the working class and poor residents are flooded out and left holding a soppy, moldy bag of dung.

    The Fed and the Treasury are too busy funding a blood bath in the Ukraine and propping up failed banks. DHS is too busy covering up crimes at the borders. They don’t care about anyone’s lost belongings, housing or businesses. Your claim will be addressed in the order received. Seeing the amount of disasters across the entire country, wish in one hand and (blank) in the other.

    As far as climate changes goes, swap the word “climate” for “population and you will understand the plan much better.

    • The land grab post-flood in Vermont is real. There was an ad on Waterbury’s FPF the other day; announcing buy-outs via the (new) town manager.

  10. I eagerly await the election cycle where VTGOP will put forth Republican candidates who inspire and excite us with their sound ideas for change. Please, oh please start with Burlington!!!

    • Well, unlikely, as one of the last GOP candidates to run in Burlington was Christopher Felker, a gay man who was denied participation in various election debates because of his outrageous, though scientifically confirmable statements such as “men don’t possess vaginas”, “a female is biologically incapable of becoming a man”, and “….I defend female-only spaces”. He was deemed to be “transphobic” and subsequently berated & ostracized by many in that crazed community at large.

      Consequently, the highly sane Dimocrats who ran their perpetually confused candidates against this “hostile savage” who was essentially disallowed from campaigning as his opponents did, thankfully won their seats handily – and Burlington has since continued to pursue their Hellish dystopian nightmare of rising drug crimes, an insufficient number of law enforcement officers, and violent incidents against innocents. Lots o’ luck.

      • Doesn’t say much for the electable Republican talent in Ward 3. His opponents knew how and when to keep their mouths shut. He didn’t.

        I’m looking forward, not backward. Hope springs eternal.

      • JD spills the beans. If you want to run for office – know how to keep your mouth shut.

  11. Rob wrote: “But I applaud both writers for, perhaps unwittingly, coming to the conclusion that practical adaptation to a changing climate makes a whole lot more sense than trying to stop the weather through what is essentially the modern-day practice of making sacrifices to the gods. ‘Here, Poseidon, I offer you my SUV. Please spare me from your rage.'”

    That’s exactly what it is, and God is not mocked. I am going to copy, without further comment, text from an email I wrote this morning to a friend who is expecting her second grandchild. Guess which photo I sent her?

    “This is my favorite picture of Montpelier; if only the waters had risen a bit higher. That bridge is the main route to and from the State House. I would feel bad for the businesses and state workers and so on, but they cater to a government that approved infanticide. You’d think they’d have some compassion about the carbon-tax nonsense, but the Secretary of State just wrote an editorial saying, ‘This is an excellent time for your home or business to ‘go green.’”

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