How did sponsors of H.688 conclude this Act makes Vermont’s air cleaner?

Having been a simple Vermonter all of my life, when I‘m told our state has goals for clean air, I naturally presume we are measuring the CO2 parts per billion of our atmosphere; turns out that was only my perception. Now, I realize, at least for the purposes of the Global Warming Solutions Act, we are only measuring emissions based on how much fuel we consume, then we extrapolate by a subjective calculation to determine our progress.

So, what is our real goal? Is it credible and does it improve Vermont’s air quality without undue burden on simple Vermonters like me?

As a Vermonter, I want clean, healthy air, but I want to know what that means in terms of the actual air quality currently surrounding me!

The prevailing winds that travel over our border from New York may be polluting our state, as well, but how would we know if our goal is only reducing fuel consumption?

Is New Hampshire’s air quality improved by Vermont’s reduced consumption of fuel, and how would they know?

And then there’s the question of what are we willing to endure to obtain that which is not even being accurately measured or compared to an established base line? How far can we reduce our consumption of fossil fuels before it inflicts hardship?

Blind trust can be easily abused so, it would behoove us to have realistic and measurable goals as it relates to the actual condition of our environmental air quality — a goal held independently from the regulating bureaucracy and one that cannot be misconstrued. Just imagine what uniting behind a common clear purpose could accomplish if this goal actually represented our true air quality.

Failure to recognize fossil fuels are not the only contributing factors to environmental air pollution is not a holistic approach for maintaining healthy air quality, nor is ignoring goals based on actual air quality in favor of those based only on consumption models that require calculations. Especially when you consider some propane water heaters actually boast a smaller carbon footprint than comparable electric water heaters, but does the formula for consumption take that into consideration?

And should we presume the same bureaucrats charged to write policy and rules for this Act will also be writing the formulas used to calculate consumption goals causing them to become moving targets? There is much I perhaps will never understand as a simple Vermont citizen, the least of which is why 87 representatives would sponsor a bill that advocates suing our own government and then expect their constituents to fork over the billable hours for legal fees. Talk about wasted energy, effort and financial resources that could have produced cleaner air for all of us to enjoy. That is, if we were less rigid in our zeal to eliminate fossil fuels and more holistic in our approach for clean air solutions, who knows, maybe we could accomplish both. Sometimes I wonder, are we working for solutions to improve air quality in Vermont or just obsessed with global elimination of fossil fuels.

Lynn James Edwards lives in Wallingford.

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