Letters to the paper are not fact-checked and do not necessarily represent the views of The Bridge.
On Studying Carbon Pricing in Vermont
I was very disappointed when our Republican president of the United States backed by his Republican-dominated Congress chose to abandon the Paris Climate Accord. What a disgusting abdication of world leadership! I was relieved to hear our Republican governor, Phil Scott, announced Vermont’s commitment to honoring the goals to the Paris Climate Accord in spite of his backsliding colleagues.
However, I was disappointed once again to learn that despite strong public support, Governor Scott had rejected the near-unanimous recommendation of his own, hand-picked Climate Action Commission to conduct an independent study on how different market mechanisms to reduce pollution could affect our economy, including the Essex Plan.
On February 13 in the opinion pages of The New York Times, three elder statesmen of the Republican Party—James Baker III, George Shultz, and Henry Paulson, Jr.—made a strong case for a US price on carbon. Carbon pricing offers the most effective means to end the destructive reign of the polluting-for-profit fossil fuel industry.
The Essex plan is currently in the House Energy and Technology Committee and Rep. Gonzalez’s revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend plan, which rebates 100 percent back to Vermont citizens through quarterly dividend checks, is currently in the House Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife Committee. These types of plans offer great hope for both attacking the giant problem of destructive climate change and strengthening our economy. They need to be carefully studied. However, Governor Scott, in his wisdom, has basically refused to even study the near unanimous recommendation of his own Climate Action Commission.
Perhaps our Governor thinks that the recently published Ethan Allen Institute (EAI) report, which denigrates the Essex plan, is all the study he needs to justify pulling the plug on any kind of carbon tax in Vermont. The EAI report on the Essex plan is worth a read—it’s compelling, but full of murky unsubstantiated assumptions. Researching the EAI a bit further, I was shocked to learn that over two-thirds of its $153,000 annual budget (fiscal year 2015) is funded by the Cato Institute and The Donor Capital Fund, both of which in turn are funded by the notorious Climate Change deniers, the Koch Brothers.
I would urge our governor not to place his trust in any Ethan Allen Institute study.
He would be much better advised to put his trust in the opinion of his own Climate Action Commission and the hundreds of citizens like myself who testified at the climate hearings rather than in any opinion funded by the Koch Brothers.
He would be better advised to put his faith in the legislative process and allow the Joint Fiscal Office to commission an independent, non-partisan analysis that we can all trust in order to evaluate the costs and benefits of such a program. He should support legislative efforts such as H.763 to include such a study in the budget and ensure that it is adequately and responsibly funded. It’s not just an investment in our future; at this point it is just good governance.
William C. Thwing, Bennington
Vote for Haase
Numa Haase is a neighbor to me. In fact, he is one of my best neighbors. I think he would make a good city councilor.
I find he has a calming influence in what can be a divisive neighborhood. His thoughtful presence helps me slow down when my impulse is to speed on ahead, even to my detriment. I also value his sincere care and concern for others, animals, and the environment. His humility allows him to listen carefully to all sides, and his desire to reach consensus ensures more stable relations.
I plan to vote for Numa Haase on Town Meeting Day.
Dianne Richardson, Montpelier
Vote for Hutcheson
I urge fellow Montpelier District 3 residents to join me in voting for Glen Coburn Hutcheson for City Council.
Glen is committed to continuing efforts to make Montpelier a walkable city and revitalizing downtown to include new housing units. I am impressed by his ability to listen to a wide range of ideas and to consider them thoughtfully before arriving at a position. He brings creative thinking and a respectful demeanor to public discourse, qualities we sorely need at this time.
His presence on City Council will truly make a positive difference.
Rilla Murray, Montpelier
What Do You Think?
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