Senators promise return of Clean Heat Standard

Legislators and event attendees mingle before a forum on climate policy goals organized by the Vermont Public Interest Research Group. Photo by Logan Solomon

New senator refers to bill vetoed this year as ‘Clean And Affordable Heat Standard’

by Logan Soloman, Community News Service

With a veto-proof majority, Democrats aim to take another crack at a clean heat bill and make climate issues their first priority next year in the State House.

That was one of the key takeaways from a Monday night forum hosted by Vermont Public Interest Research Group at the Old Labor Hall in Barre.

“Leadership prioritizes climate now more than ever,” said state Senator-Elect Rebecca White, one of the speakers. White told the crowd that she had met with Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Baruth, who told her his top legislative priority is climate policy.

White was one of five current or soon-to-be lawmakers who spoke at the event and met with the about two dozen attendees, including a few local faces: Anne Watson, state senator-elect and Montpelier mayor; Jonathan Williams, state representative-elect; and recently reelected Sen. Andrew Perchlik, D/P-Washington.

The event was a part of a statewide 12-stop climate tour in which politicians and attendees can discuss legislative issues centered on climate change. Meeting the state’s legally required carbon emissions targets has been a focal point of the tour, and event organizers have also looked to connect locals with their representatives to urge action.

All the tour events have been co-led by the advocacy group’s climate campaign manager Jordan Heiden and White, who will represent the Windsor Senate district.

“If I had to guess, in the House they will likely start on making rules to the renewable energy standard, while in the Senate the clean and affordable heat standard (might be first),” White said

Earlier this year, environmental activists expressed disappointment to Vermont Public about Republican Gov. Phil Scott’s veto of last legislative session’s landmark heating reform bill. That bill was projected to account for a third of the state’s legally required emissions reductions by 2030, according to the research nonprofit Energy Action Network.

House legislators failed to override the governor’s veto by a single vote.

Longtime Sen. Mark MacDonald, D-Orange, promised attendees that night the Senate would try again to pass a clean heating bill. White and Heiden went further, saying they were optimistic a new bill would pass after the lessons learned from the May veto situation.

The tour began in Hartford on Nov. 28, then stopped in Bennington and St. Johnsbury before hitting Barre. Eight more stops are planned throughout the state in the coming weeks, including one in Burlington (Dec. 8) and one in Rutland (Dec. 9). When complete, the tour will have featured 12 events with several dozen officials in just over three weeks.

The tour is a part of a broader VPIRG campaign that began this past March — the Keep Vermont Cool Campaign — to motivate legislators to act on particular climate change legislation.

The event was filled with optimism, largely due to the midterms last month in which Vermont Democrats gained a veto-proof majority.

But it wasn’t all cheerful, as presenters said Vermont has a shrinking window to take legislative action. They expressed concern about a vocal minority in the state that is doubtful or dismissive of climate change as a problem.

At one point, White did not mince words about those neglecting climate change’s impact: “It feels like gaslighting when people are not caring about (the) climate crisis.”

Apart from the heating bill, speakers touched on topics like subsidizing electrification, adopting heating alternatives and how to do so in an equitable manner.

Williams detailed how funding needs to be more equitable across the state, pointing out how Barre City might need more money compared to wealthier municipalities such as those in Chittenden County.

Perchlik suggested legislators examine creating another tax bracket among the state’s wealthiest residents to fund climate policies. White suggested reforming the gas tax to make it more favorable for low-income Vermonters.

The tour caps off an election season in which VPIRG says it spent more than $235,000 on “pro-climate candidates,” resulting in more than 120 “climate champions” being elected.

Read the original story on the Times Argus.

Categories: Legislation

25 replies »

  1. I hope Vermonters have their cave, fire ring of rocks, and wood which was cut and spit by green methods ready for 2030. Ya ba da ba do ! Fred Flintstone here we come !

    • You’re absolutely right, these fools apparently have never tried to heat a home in January with electric heat. It doesn’t cut it and it’s expensive.

    • In the decade or two after this is passed, there will be few Vermonters left who will need to be concerned with this. Not a worry.

  2. Climate champions? More like climate morons.
    Go to China and make change there. Don’t expect to be back soon!

  3. Unfortunate that We The People are just learning about the tour around the State when it’s over. This is typical Dems/Progs leadership does it all in secret. Hang on Vermonters, these people are coming after more of your rights, Freedoms, and income empowering themselves…

    Stand Up Vermonters, this is your State and rights.

  4. that the Democrats feel they have the right to tell people what to do in so many areas of life is wrong. in a free country one should have a choice on how to live. always my first objection to climate change is for whatever evidence they use the time frame is not even a drop in the bucket compared to life of the planet. but i would disagree that carbon has that much of an effect seeing how little there is in the atmosphere

  5. This will be another nail in the financial lives of seniors citizens. The legislature has already used the tax code to punish seniors while doling out huge amounts of money to lure young (progressive) families to the Nirvana of VT.

    Now they wish to force seniors to pay MORE for their so-called Clean heat ? These climate crisis, gender-confused, baby-adverse “morons” are trading the reality of the present for the fantasy of the future. What happens years from now when it turns out they were wrong ?

  6. This is no different then the Burlington city council member who wanted the city to ban everything but electric heat. Idiots with no clue.

  7. Make no mistake: this is the all out rush to enact the entire VCC VPIRG climate agenda with no fear of a veto. VPIRG spent $235,000 getting climateers elected, and they’re paying at least $50k to their climate campaign manager. They won’t even need their 42 registered lobbyists. Somebody tell our 70% reelected Governor it’s long past time stand up and do battle the coming Green Police State.

    • I believe that option has past. phil scott jumped on board the climate carnival wagon long ago and is unlikely to jump off. scott’s marquee ‘affordability’ platitude is no longer valid either. As you predict, it will be a free-for-all, with VPIRG, CLA and every two- bit environmental non-profit racing to the Washington County Courthouse to file papers for the 2025 litigation and payment frenzy. Remember too- that all these dollars- are tax dollars provided by taxpayers. Not grown on the money tree on the statehouse lawn.
      There is no adult in the room, to call a time out to this debacle- it’s Ready, Fire, Aim for the 2023-2024 Vermont Legislature and the Climate councils past legislators created.

    • John is a valorous man. Many thanks to him for all of the insight and advocacy provided us through the years. But John, its over. OVER. We will own nothing, and be told to be happy. Now its just a matter of calling the realtor and looking for a place elsewhere. Outta here folks……

    • Phil Scott is like General Custer at Little Big Horn. Even if he wanted to fight, (he doesn’t), he would still get massacred.

  8. My company recently installed the most efficient, commercial, oil fired boiler commercially sold. After initial set up contracted with three, local, burner technicians to fine tune the burner-boiler system, None could achieve combustion analyzer efficiency close to the advertised values. Out of frustration I contracted the senior engineer from the burner manufacturer in Connecticut, paying his travel and expenses. After properly tuning the system he exceed the advertised efficiency for net savings of over $5000 a year. The engineer related that Vermont has the most lax training and licencing of oil burner technicians in the northeast. That few have been properly educated in combustion science, nor do they know how to correctly interpret a combustion analyzer. I wrote my local representative detailing how much fuel oil is wasted in Vermont along with elevated emissions. My representative efficely told me to pound sand. Became clear, the clean heat standard has nothing to do with helping Vermonters.

  9. “12-stop climate tour”. I know Vermont is a relatively small state and you don’t have to go far to get from one place to another, but I didn’t realize the cost of the “climate tour” was free.

    Methinks the “tour” consisted of Burlington to Montpelier and back. In gas-guzzling Cadillac Escalades, of course.

  10. The wokes that vote for these idiots, will not change or learn until they are freezing to death themselves. And that is the only solution that will get rid of the certified idiots in Mt. Stupid.

  11. How clueless the climate activists are; it is obvious that if joe and his band actually believed in what they’re espousing we would see much different actions by them. Kerry would park his yacht and private jet, Pelosi would fly commercial, and joe would spend much more time in DC. If one’s car isn’t safe would it be driven constantly? Same thing for the climate “crisis”, people in positions of power would be leading by example if it was something they truly believed in. PT Barnum showed his expertise in understanding humans when he said You can fool some of the all of the time and all of the people some of the time. People need to use critical thinking or at least listen to people that are capable of it.

    • I’m not sure that quote is correctly attributed to PT Barnum, but was certainly known for observing “There’s a sucker born every minute…” – which seems even more fitting, doesn’t it?

  12. Soooo, with all the grand standing taking place this week, what if my incestuous cabal (UVMMC, GMCB, OneCare Vermont) approved Doctor, assuming I can get an appointment of course, writes me a prescription for an efficient and affordable heating source? Temperature variances and prolonged exertion needed to stay warm in an electrified heated house, say by using a stationary bicycle, certainly will negatively impact the performance of a man’s “swimmers”, don’t I have the constitutional right now to not be infringed by the government regarding my reproductive health?

  13. Funny. Senator MacDonald swore he was not going to go after another tax on heating oil in 2023, and now he’s leading the charge again? He mentioned this in two debates and many of his campaign materials, calling his opponent John Klar a liar in the process for suggesting it.

    Maybe all that cognitive dissonance swilling around in his putrid, rotting brain was the cause of his unfortunate stroke. Progressives deserve everything they get.

  14. The senators should read Evslin’s “Buring Ships” entry before inflicting another misguided law on Vermonter’s. Climate change is a problem. Knee jerk solutions are not the answer. Why are so few other states NOT following California’s lead? What do they know that our Legislators don’t?

  15. None of the perfectionists has any replacement for fuel oil and natural
    Piped in natural gas.

    So we keep the house warm by doing jumping jacks and push-ups?

  16. We have clean heat standard now!!

    CO2 is a great way to feed the plants and trees

    Plants and trees give us Oxygen

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