Global-Warming War Begins | Freyne Land
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Friday, May 18, 2007

Global-Warming War Begins

Posted By on Fri, May 18, 2007 at 8:43 AM

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Mark your calendars.

May 17, 2007: the day the Great Global Warming War of the 21st Century officially erupted full-bore in the Green Mountain State. "Shots" fired.

In Burlington, the two leaders of the Vermont Legislature told reporters they still had hope Vermont's governor would see the light and not veto H. 520, the landmark Climate Change Bill that was the product of their session-opening spotlight on the global warming crisis confronting Mother Earth and her occupants.

They held a presser in the library at former Gov. Phil Hoff's Main Street law firm (over the bike shop). Phil was Vermont's first Democrat in the governor's office, elected in 1962. Maybe they were hoping for some luck to rub off?

Said State Sen. Peter Shumlin, the senate president pro tem from Windham County:

"We ought to be celebrating the fact that the Vermont Legislature had the courage to pass a really tough bill.  Is it really controversial?

You bet.

Do we have a sales job ahead?

You bet.

Does that start yesterday?

It should have.

Will it continue tomorrow?


But, Vermont should be proud of the fact that their Legislature has been willing to go to an area that no other legislature has been will to touch!

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In Montpelier, Republican Gov. Jim Douglas made it perfectly clear hewill, indeed, veto H. 520 the big, landmark climate change bill. To the Guv, however, it's a Democratic tax bill not a climate-change bill. 

The GOP governor of a state most think of as comprised of a bunch of antiwar, left-wing tree-huggers, had hinted at a veto of the global-waring legislation for months. But Gov. Scissorhands finally made himself perfectly clear, telling Terri Hallenbeck of the state's largest daily newspaper, The Burlington Free Press, that his mindis made up:

Douglas said... that no amount of persuasion will change hismind about the bill.

"I feel very strongly about it," he said. "It's aterrible message to send to the business community."


But name one tax any business ever celebrated, eh?

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Speaker Symington, a native of upscale Tuxedo Park, New York, who also packs a Cornell M.B.A., is not exactly the sort of person who reflects insensitivity to the "business community."

Said Madame Speaker:

"You already see other states looking to Vermont to learn from our energy efficiency utility. You see Canada looking to learn from what we’ve done in our energy efficiency utility that’s confined to the world of electric energy.

"That’s not enough. We’re trying to move from there to an all-fuels electric utility.

"I find it interesting to hear some of the comments from the business community about their discomfort with this bill. I bet if you go through who Energy-Efficiency Vermont has actually provided service for, you’d find a fair number of those businesses having taken advantage of Efficiency Vermont, realizing some real savings in the last five or six years as a result of Efficiency Vermont.

Speaker Symington said all they're trying to do is extend that benefit beyond the electric-heat crowd to an "all-fuels" statewide energy-efficiency utility.

"The governor can be a real national leader here and an international leader," said Shummy, "and that’s what we need to communicate to him. He’s flying off to China in just a few weeks to promote energy efficiency in China based upon the experience here in Vermont.

"Why this governor would go to promote efficiency to the Chinese in China, when he doesn’t have the courage to support it at home is puzzling to me."

Puzzling to you?

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About The Author

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne, 1949-2009, wrote the weekly political column "Inside Track," which originated in the Vanguard Press in the mid 1980s; he brought it to Seven Days in 1995. He retired it shortly before his death in January, 2009. We all miss him.

More by Peter Freyne


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