Opportunity Vermont, a registered 501c4 organization, announced Feb. 1 a comprehensive effort to inform Burlingtonians about the dangers of the “Burner Ban” resolution. In addition, Opportunity Vermont has released a petition calling on the Mayor and City Council to abandon any proposal that taxes residents who need gas for heat, hot water, or cooking.
Opportunity Vermont released the following statement:
“Climate change is real, and the impacts are very dangerous. Opportunity Vermont supports efforts to protect the environment, but this resolution will have the opposite effect intended. The resolution is the first step in the effort to ban burners, boilers, furnaces, stoves, fireplaces, and dryers that use natural gas. The resolution could also allow a carbon tax on Burlington residents that decide to keep their current heating system rather than convert to electricity.
“Switching to electricity in Burlington is not necessarily better for the environment. One of the primary sources of electrical power in Burlington comes from the McNeil Generating Station. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the McNeil plant is Vermont’s largest producer of C02 admissions. The McNeil plant releases more than 350 thousand metric tons of emissions into the atmosphere every year.
“Additionally, the McNeil plant operates at just 24 percent efficiency, which means three out of every four trees thrown into the fire goes up in smoke without producing any electricity while releasing more heat, smoke, and particulate matter into the air. This doesn’t include the CO2 emissions emitted into the environment to log and transport the wood.
“Converting to electric heat will add to Vermont’s peaking problem. When the temperature dips into single digits, the New England grid is at peak demand and relies on coal and oil fired power plants in southern New England. We need a coordinated regional policy if we are going to add more demand for electricity, not a town by town approach. The result will be inefficient coal fired electric heat during the coldest part of the winter.
“Even the most efficient electric heat pumps won’t keep Vermonters warm on a cold night. In fact, the Public Service Department reports that electric heat pumps only replace 40 percent of the heat load. The other 60 percent needs to come from traditional heating sources that would be banned under the city council proposal. This policy won’t solve global warming, but it could keep Burlingtonians in the cold.
“The resolution will be voted on this Town Meeting Day by Burlington voters. Should the resolution pass, the Legislature will consider whether to grant the charter change and make the unprecedented decision to allow a Vermont city to enact its own carbon tax. We urge Burlington voters to stop this now before it spreads to other Vermont towns.”
Opportunity Vermont is a registered 501c4 with a mission to “inform citizens, strengthen debate in the public square, and protect the economic, educational, health, and environmental interests of all Vermonters.” Those who are on the board or participate in advisory positions come from diverse backgrounds and political affiliations. In the coming weeks, Opportunity Vermont will roll out additional initiatives in municipalities across the state.
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