Roper: Rep. scolds equity official for showing how S.5 will “force/pressure” low-income Vermonters into spending money they don’t have.

by Rob Roper

Jay Green, Racial Equity Policy and Research Analyst of the Office of Racial Equity testified before the House Energy & Environment Committee to discuss issues of concern his office has with S.5, the Clean Heat Standard bill. Green’s biggest problem was with how the bill will impact low-income Vermonters.

“We still don’t understand how this legislation will affect the cost of heating for low- and middle-income Vermonters,” said Green. “We are concerned that this legislation leaves that sort of unknown…. It is still challenging for our office to fully support the legislation without knowing fully what impacts it will have on the cost of heating for people.”

This line of discussion led to push back from Rep. Avram Patt (D-Woodbury), who questioned Green, “Since nothing in the bill requires anybody to replace an existing heating system that’s working, why would that be of significant concern?”

Green’s answer exposed a truth about the bill that advocates would rather remain obscured. “Many of the items on that list [of clean heat measures] for which clean heat credits can be created… require consumers to make an upfront investment for weatherization services or installation of a heat pump, [etc.]. What we’re trying to communicate is the upfront cost is a potential concern for people who – if you can’t afford a $400 emergency expense, how are you supposed to afford – even if it will save you money ten years in the future – how are you supposed to afford that expense right now?”

Green’s $400 figure referred to a study he shared with the committee showing that low-income households living paycheck to paycheck cannot afford to cover the cost of an emergency expense of $400. If they can’t afford that amount for an emergency, how can they be expected to come up with more than that amount to, for example, swap out their existing oil furnace for a heat pump. These upfront costs are routinely more than ten times that much just for the heat pump, not including any other modifications to the home that might be necessary to accommodate the heat pump.  

Again, Patt pulled out the talking point that there is no requirement that any specific individual adopt any specific clean heat measure. But Green pointed to the language in S.5 that does, in fact, require very specifically that 16 percent of all clean heat credits must be generated by low-income Vermonters, and another 16 percent by middle income Vermonters.

“You say no one is forced to do it,” shot back Green, “but I think that the language of the bill is clear that clean heat credits are going to have to be generated from low- and middle-income customers. So, they will be pressured to weatherize and upgrade heat systems no matter what just to meet those 16 percent targets.” Green is exactly correct.

This is when Rep. Larua Sibilia (I-Dover) sternly admonished the witness over his choice of language. “’Pressured,’ I think, when we are talking about creating a market is probably the wrong word. ‘Incentivized’ I think is the other word. And ‘incentives’ is the word we’re really thinking about when we talk about low-income folks.”

However, whether one calls it what it is, “pressure or force” or euphemistically “incentivizing” Green’s point remains undeniable that low-income Vermonters cannot afford the upfront costs of taking even the most rudimentary clean heat measures. The only way to meet the mandated low-income demographic targets in the bill are is to convince a certain percentage of low-income Vermonters to do these things. What Sibilia is suggesting is that the way we will do this is to pay them whatever amount necessary – with money forcibly taken from people who heat their homes with oil, propane, natural gas, or kerosene.

Whether he realized it or not, Green was actually supporting testimony from Julie Moore, Secretary of Natural Resources, when she asserted the day before that on average a 90 percent subsidy would be necessary to incentivize people to undertake clean heat measures — which in total would come to an estimated $2 billion. When Moore put this figure before the committee, they scoffed. But given Green’s $400 statistic, that 90 percent number is probably low. And with it, so is Moore’s estimate of just a $0.70 carbon fee per gallon of home heating fuel.

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

14 replies »

  1. Are they kidding? It would take a 100% subsidy for folks who live paycheck to paycheck because giving up other high cost necessities, like food, to pay for this nonsense isn’t an option. But maybe that’s why the globalists are getting rid of farms, fertilizer, and meat to starve the people. With fewer people on the planet they’ll have their exclusive fairy tale windmill utopia…at least until the union of China and Russia achieve hegemony.

  2. Maybe the loyal hordes of Democrat voters in Vermont will finally wake up to the fact their elected representatives don’t care about them.

  3. An open letter to all VT Fuel Dealers ;
    Immediately stop delivery of home heating oil, gasoline, Natural gas and Propane to every VT legislator that voted for or supports S5.
    Close their accounts, demand full payment of every balance.
    They are trying to put you out of business and force Vermonters to pay for their
    ” climate change agenda. ”
    I have said it before and will again, these people are marxists forcing their agenda on Vermonters. The only people that believe there is a climate emergency are the indoctrinated and those who profit from it. Thru both financial gain and by controlling their agenda thru fear.
    If any of you care about Vermonters that cannot afford this garbage and your survival, shut off the flow to their homes and businesses.
    They have formed an agenda to stop you from making a living and for Vermont families to either choose to eat or heat their homes.
    This is the Government our Forefathers warned us about.
    You have the right to make them live their utopian dream of all electric power.
    When the lights go out they can grab another blanket like McCormack suggests.

  4. It is indeed “pressure” – or coercion, or extortion – to financially punish people who don’t switch. It’s a racket, and it’s criminal.

  5. So, Roper is laying out all the features of a FUD campaign. Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt against S. 5.
    Roper does not care about consumers heating costs. If the oil companies raise the price of heating fuel 70 cents or more, he will blame it on someone or something other than oil companies, who are making record profits. Roper and the EAI exist to protect the interests of the fossil fuel industry, among other things. Think of Roper as a freelance lobbyist for them as it pertains to the public opinion. He will say anything to protect them, and run interference of anything that might regulate, or hold them accountable.
    Many of the folks here in the comments are probably charged with that duty as well.

    • Mr. Roper speaks for so many Vermonters and has stepped up multiple times.
      The blame for raising the fuel oil by 70 cents a gallon is totally on the hands of those forcing their ” Affordable Heating Act ” which has nothing to do with affordability.
      The marxist in the Legislature are committed to their blind rage regardless of who is harmed. Vermonters will be forced to decide whether groceries or heating oil is purchased

      Ironic how you call Rob out for defending Vermonters, while defending those who willfully put people in harms way.
      Thank you Mr. Roper for once again speaking to truth.

      FYI, nobody pays me to say anything.

  6. Have people lost their minds?!? The funny thing to me is what never seems to be addressed. Let’s do a mental exercise. For the purposes of this exercise, pretend for a moment that “climate change” is an ever increasing danger to Vermonters. And pretend that the answer to all those “climate problems” is to, one way or another, go electric. Or green (wind, solar, etc).

    Do any of these things operate for free? Generating electricity requires burning coal, gas, or oil, all of which will increase with more electric use. Thus, more use of said coal, gas, or oil by the power plants. And the existing infrastructure can barely handle the load on it now. So what will be the result? You’ll pay far more for something that’s harder and harder to get.

    But what about solar? What about windmills? You realize the real lifespan for solar panels is about 15 years, right? You realize that the cost of distributing windmill power is excessive, right? And that windmills are only 15-20% efficient, right? And of course, that many rare earth metals are used in the production of these devices? And that rare earth metals are finite?

    Bottom line, the generation costs are going to drive prices through the roof! And yes, how ARE the low to middle income Vermonters going to be able to afford it all? Answer: They won’t!

    Very simply, “reducing our ‘carbon footprint'” is just another scam from the elites to destroy the middle class “deplorables” by separating us from our money. It’s another of their Ponzi schemes or false flags. No different than gun running, drug running, or child trafficking. It all lines the pockets of the elites and the Deep State. One gets eliminated, they figure out another one.

    Even their beloved Ukraine, where we fomented revolution in 2014, is being taken back by Putin. And you know when he’ll stop? When he rids the country of all the US funded biolabs there (40+ and counting) and when he eliminates the corrupt, money laundering Ukrainian government.

    And if we were really serious about our “carbon footprint”, we’d be demanding release of all the free energy technologies out there, some of which have existed for 70 years or more. But you can’t profit off “free”, can you…

  7. What is in their stock portfolios is what they want to remain a secret. If anyone questions the costs to consumers or small business, they become hostile and brow beat as if anyone has the gall to question them. Very telling they are hiding something – the big lie is being exposed by their inability to maintain their poker faces. Fraud and theivery is a game that has limitations afterall.

  8. These Socialists and Marxists are going to force this hairbrained legislation on all of us no matter what. For folks who allegedly represent “the people of Vermont” they don’t seem to be taking the wellbeing of the majority of Vermonters into any consideration. We certainly elected a fine batch of dictators, did we not?

    • Did we really “elect” them? Or did they pull a fast one like in AZ, PA, GA, etc? I know, I know, Vermont is “progressive” and has been for years. But yet, we elect Republican governors almost every time. Are we really to believe that the overall state leans right, while we elect Demonrats to nearly all other local, federal, and state offices? Local I can see, but federal and state?

      Methinks there’s more going on here than meets the eye. And what’s wrong with tarring and feathering, as someone suggested? It seemed to work pretty well back in the day. Just sayin…

  9. Coercian and extortion, kettling and capturing middle and low income Vermonters…IS the State of the State of Vermont…thugs and crooks and criminals who, in another day and time, would’ve been run out of town after being tarred and feathere, on split rail fence post, naked… that’s what Vermonter’s responses to shysters and snakeoil salesmen USED to be…when we were ‘allowed’ to live and let live, and mind our own damn bidness…


    • Maybe you should say something constructive instead of slinging insults, the lowest form of debate frequency used by Marxists and communists. The reason why nothing here sounds original is because it is all true and well documented.

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