by Guy Page
The override vote on S.5, the Affordable Heating Act, is on today’s House “notice calendar,” meaning the vote will be held Thursday.
The Senate overrode Gov. Phil Scott’s veto Tuesday and the House is expected to do likewise. However, a poll released this week by the Ethan Allen Institute shows that – unlike their representatives – the Vermonters polled opposed S.5.
The poll, conducted by the free-market Ethan Allen Institute, whose leadership has warned the Legislature about the negative financial impacts of implementing the carbon taxation bill, shows:
- Among those who know of it, Vermonters oppose the Affordable Heat Act 40% to 27%.
- If the Affordable Heat Act causes any increase in fuel prices, Vermonters oppose the Act by 61% to 26%.
- Vermonters will vote against a state senator or state representative who supports the Affordable Heat Act by 53% to 18%, a 3 to 1 margin.
- Vermonters believe Gov. Phil Scott’s veto should be upheld by 64% to 18%, more than 3-1 in favor of sustaining the veto.
The Ethan Allen Institute conducted a statewide survey, May 1-May 4 among 300 registered voters in Vermont. Interviews were conducted online and by telephone. Telephone respondents included both cell phone and land line users. A 52%/48% mix of female/male respondents was enforced. At .90 confidence level the margin of error for this study is +/- 5%, EAI claimed.
The EAI data appear to support the anecdotal claims of many lawmakers who say constituent emails and phone messages have opposed S.5 by a wide margin.
Senate S.5 supporters sound off – Few senators supporting S.5 offered comments during yesterday’s floor discussion, at least in part from deference to Sen. David Weeks’ need to leave the discussion due to a family funeral. However, in a statement issued by Senate Pro Tem Phil Baruth’s office yesterday, several supporters broke their silence.
“Governor Scott and the Republican Party have made it clear that they have no intention to address the climate crisis and will limit their involvement to delaying and criticizing our climate legislation,” said Baruth. “Future generations are counting on us to act on climate. Today’s override represents our commitment to them and to all Vermonters. We don’t have time for more delays.”
“Vermonters are facing both a climate emergency and a heating emergency,” said Senator Bray, chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee. “We’re seeing heating fuels at record high prices, and Vermonters need and deserve cleaner, money-saving options. I’m grateful to the Vermont Senate for listening to Vermonters and taking careful, responsible action today.”
“The status quo is not sustainable for Vermonters,” said Senator Anne Watson, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy. “The upfront cost of switching to cleaner heating options or weatherizing has been a barrier for many Vermont families. This bill is designed to start the process of designing a transition that would bring down those upfront costs to a rate that is accessible for all.”
“Vermonters are seeing the impacts of climate change and they have called on the legislature to act,” said Senator Becca White, member of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy and co-chair of the Vermont climate caucus. “S.5 would move Vermont toward a more equitable, affordable and sustainable energy future. I want Vermonters to have a smooth landing as we transition off of fossil fuels, by design rather than disaster, and this is our best opportunity to do that.”
Fossil fuels are organic, former LG candidate says – 2022 candidate for Lt. Gov. Greg Thayer of Rutland weighed in with a public statement on the biological necessity of C02. In an open letter to legislators, Thayer wrote:
“Did you know that fossil fuels are 100% organic? Made from the Earth and by the Earth. All life is made up of carbon, and C02 originates from the atmosphere. Further, all of the carbon in fossil fuel energy that we all burn today or that we use from “friendly” climate control products that you praise was once in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide before it was consumed by the plankton and plant life. The plankton in our water systems and the plants on land use C02 to live and provide for us in our everyday life. Without it, they died.
“Plankton and plants are the originators of fossil fuels after the heat and pressure systems in the Earth’s crust. This is an organic and necessary process, and is absolute for our life.”