Anti-carbon tax groups call for boycott of 7 Vermont companies

Multiple anti-carbon tax groups are partnering in an effort to boycott Vermont companies whose CEOs are supporting a carbon tax in the Green Mountain State.

Citizen groups 802VT Alliance and No Carbon TAX Vermont are calling for the boycott ahead of a planned rollout of a letter-writing and telephone campaign.

They have named the following Vermont firms as targets of the boycott: Black River Produce, Danforth Pewter, Rhino Foods, Ben & Jerry’s, Seventh Generation, the Alchemist, Sun Common and Burton Snowboards.

802VT Alliance

A call for a boycott of Vermont companies by several anti-carbon tax groups in Vermont.

The boycott was started using a meme on 802VT Alliance’s and No Carbon TAX Vermont’s Facebook pages. The meme is being shared on Facebook via individual members and supporters of the two groups.

“When we read about this group of Vermont CEOs supporting a carbon tax here — these are Vermont companies doing business in Vermont and depending upon Vermont people for at least part of their income — we asked why they would cut their own throats and back a carbon tax,” John de Bruin, founder of 802VT Alliance, told TNR.

The CEOs of the seven companies held a news conference at the Vermont Statehouse on Feb. 20 to urge Gov. Phil Scott and the mostly Democratic/Progressive state Legislature to pass a comprehensive climate action package this session.

At the media event sponsored by the Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, the CEOs said they want the state to move away from fossil fuels and embrace local renewable energy. Their support of the tax was explained as a way to offset the economic impact of the climate crisis and the possibility of Vermont losing its “green state” status.

802VT Alliance’s de Bruin, a resident of Danby, said that when he and J.T. Dodge of Newberry, founder of No Carbon TAX Vermont, learned that some legislators want to give the companies “financial kickbacks and incentives” to support the tax, they decided a boycott was needed to call attention to the collusion.

“They did this so they wouldn’t have to pay their share of a carbon tax,” de Bruin said. “Right there, they put themselves in a situation where they showed they care more about their profits and not their customers.”

De Bruin said that “100 percent” of his membership expressed support of the boycott, and that many are sending letters to the CEOs at their addresses. He added that group members are puzzled as to why corporate leaders would support a tax that would hurt their businesses and customers.

“Logically, you wouldn’t think these company CEOs would support a carbon tax,” de Bruin said. “Their transportation costs are going to go up. Their trucks deliver produce, merchandise to various locations.

As an example, he said the expenses for Black River Produce could potentially double in Vermont, and that costs would get passed on to consumers.

While boycotts have become the most visible means by which consumers express their views to company executives they disagree with, it’s unclear what steps make for an effective boycott.

J.T. Dodge, of No Carbon TAX Vermont, said his membership is non-partisan and most members support a boycott of the companies.

“No Carbon TAX Vermont supports the boycott of the announced corporations, as they are promoting and supporting the carbon tax schemes which include a carbon dioxide cap and trade,” Dodge told TNR. “Many of these organizations are owned by large foreign multi-national billion-dollar corporations — for example, Seventh Generation authored the Essex carbon tax scheme. Seventh Generation, as well as carbon tax promoters Ben & Jerrys, are both owned by Unilever. We haven’t yet listed Green Mountain Power [as part of the boycott], but we do consider them a large billion-dollar foreign corporation, as it is owned by Quebec’s Gaz Metro.”

Dodge said Gaz Metro stands to receive ownership over Vermont’s power resources, especially if legislators move ahead with decarbonization-electrification plans.

“Working class Vermonters already struggle with the price of living here,” Dodge noted. “Our group is against making their lives more challenging.”

According to de Bruin, several legislators, are working hand-in-hand with the green corporation CEOs and are advancing a draconian anti-fossil-fuel agenda without much public or other commercial input.

“What irked me is that House Transportation Committee member Rep. Rebecca White (D-Hartford) is pushing for this carbon tax, too,” de Bruin said, noting that the legislator was a former community organizer for SunCommon, a green energy company and strong supporter of the carbon tax idea.

“Her company stands to profit from the carbon tax because she’ll sell more solar panels. It’s a conflict of interest, she should have bowed out in the first place,” de Bruin added.

Other legislators behind the business-carbon tax effort include Reps. Mollie S. Burke, P-Brattelboro, Sarah Copland-Hanzas, D-Bradford, and Mary Sullivan, D-Burlington.

“All three are part of Montpelier’s Climate Solution Caucus,” de Bruin said.

While no carbon tax bills have been officially introduced in the House, lawmakers have drafted various ideas. In February, House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, D-South Hero, said it was too late to introduce carbon tax legislation this year.

Reaction to the planned boycott got thumbs up on Facebook from several individuals who follow de Bruin’s and Dodge’s efforts.

Donna Boutin, of St. Albans, wrote on 802VT Alliance’s Facebook page: “I haven’t supported B&J’s in over 30 years. My husband, back 30-plus years ago, called them ‘f— liberals’; the main reason was they were against the military. As for the others: never did business with them, don’t plan on it either.”

Another 802VT Alliance supporter, Michael Ferraro, of Castleton, wrote, “Done. Even if they (the seven CEOs) change their tune — done.”

True North reached out to several of the businesses named in the boycott for comment, but none responded at press time.

De Bruin said his call for the boycott was an easy decision to make.

“Nobody likes to get taken for a ride,” he said. “I think the boycott will have enough of an effect so that some of these companies may say ‘let’s not back this plan anymore’; that’s the ultimate goal of what we’re hoping for.”

Lou Varricchio is a freelance reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at lvinvt@gmx.com.

Image courtesy of 802VT Alliance

33 thoughts on “Anti-carbon tax groups call for boycott of 7 Vermont companies

  1. I am one of the CEOs supporting a carbon tax. True North did not contact me, and I would have been happy to comment. Here’s why we’re supporting the carbon tax: the Pentagon has identified climate change as the single biggest threat to our security — not Russia, not North Korea, not terrorism — climate change. It is also the single biggest threat to our prosperity. Every time someone’s house gets wiped out by a flood or damaged by winds, every time hail damages a farmer’s crops, Vermonters pay the price. They have to buy food and housing, and as those prices go up, they have less money to spend on themselves and on their families and friends. That hurts our business. Our employees and our customers care about climate change. We support the ESSEX plan (and I’m proudly listed as a co-author) because that plan introduces a very small carbon tax (it will gradually ramp up over several years, maxing out at about 40 cents per gallon of gas, which is a lot less than gas has gone up and down just due to swings in the market), and it returns MORE money to Vermonters than it collects from Vermonters, since ALL the money goes back to Vermonters, including that collected from visitors to the state. The top 40% of Vermont households will pay a little more in carbon taxes than they get in reduced electric bills, and the majority of Vermont households come out ahead — their electric bills get reduced by more than they pay in carbon taxes. The science is clear, the threat is urgent, and the time for us all, as individuals, as companies, as communities, as states, and as countries, to take action is now. At Danforth Pewter, we have committed to getting to zero fossil fuel use. As one of the other commenters noted, we built a solar farm in Addison, on an employee’s land that she wasn’t using for anything except paying taxes. Now she gets income from that land, we get below-market electricity, and the atmosphere gets spared a little bit of pollution. We’re working on switching our heat from heating oil and propane to heat pumps, and we’re re-engineering our casting pots to run on electricity instead of propane. It’s hard, and expensive, and one of the most important projects we’re working on right now. I’m also working on getting my home to zero fossil fuel use, which is tricky because it’s an old house (120 years old or so). I’d ask all of you to think about how you get your homes, your workplaces, your vehicles, and your communities to zero fossil fuel use, and if there’s a better way than a carbon tax, the legislature and the business leaders in the state would love to hear it.

    • There are Vermont corporations that don’t understand, and quite possibly have forgotten about the little people of Vermont and their significance. Their business successes have distanced themselves from the state that they stood their businesses up in, and found great affluence and financial success.
      Vermont has a .01%Greenhouse gas footprint and the least greenhouse gas emission out of all the states. We literally have the least. But these wealthy organizations believe we can afford heavily taxing our vehicle and heating fuels as if we are responsible for the globe and can afford to rapidly decarbonize ourselves into caves.
      It’s surprising to see some of these companies supporting the idea of raising the cost of living for the little people while accruing abundance.

      ref. https://vtdigger.org/2018/08/07/danforth-pewter-founders-gradually-stepping-away/

      “While Fred Danforth declined to give details of the plan, Danforth CEO Bram Kleppner said “the company is currently owned by 24 shareholders. We’re eyes and ears open for some other buyer,” Kleppner said.
      Let me re-affirm what Mr. Kleppner posted above in regards to the corporation in his responsibility:…” We support the ESSEX plan (and I’m proudly listed as a co-author) ”

      “Meanwhile, Danforth Pewter is expanding and the Vermont-based company is stepping away from Vermont.”

      There are many ways to address climate change that do not include a tax on Vermonters.
      See you on March 23 @ the statehouse.
      #NoCarbonTaxVermont

      • Allow me to respond again on behalf of Danforth:
        1. We are NOT stepping away from Vermont . . . expanding outside Vermont is different from shrinking inside Vermont, and our manufacturing, our offices, and five of our eight retail stores are in Vermont.
        2. The ESSEX Plan is designed to make working Vermonters richer, not poorer. It returns 100% of the money collected through the carbon tax to Vermonters, with higher payments to rural Vermonters and lower-income Vermonters, and the highest payments of all to Vermonters whose households are both rural and lower-income.
        3. I simply would not support a plan that would put an additional burden on a lot of my co-workers at Danforth. It wasn’t that long ago that I was washing dishes for minimum wage, and milking cows and cleaning barns for $5/hour, couldn’t afford a car, could barely afford rent and food.

        The ESSEX Plan is a carbon pricing plan designed specifically for Vermont, to improve the Vermont economy, to immediately lower the monthly bills for working Vermonters, and over the longer term to help lower-income Vermonters get out from under the burden of paying for heating oil and gasoline.

        Every Vermonter’s health is suffering from breathing fossil fuel exhaust, and the sooner we can transition to clean energy for transportation, heat, and power, the sooner we’ll all enjoy better health.

        • So it returns 100% of the money–but not to the same people who paid it! That’s called redistribution of wealth. Anyway why should anybody believe that this will be the actual result? Has it ever happened?
          Bad weather is not caused by carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It is 0.04% of the atmosphere, and not a very effective greenhouse gas anyway.
          Totally pie-in-the sky, and the schemers are there in the legislature, to vote themselves big profits in the name of this eco-terrorism campaign.
          They can afford to pay more, to eliminate the competition, then own everything.
          I used to believe this fake science too, but did some research, and found that it was decided around 1964 by the Club of Rome that the next global boogeyman was to be carbon dioxide, so they could fight their war against US, and end up owning more of the pie.
          Pollution is bad, but even that is not what it used to be. Anybody who can remember before 1980 knows that car exhaust used to be so much worse than it is now. Pollution from industries has been reduced greatly too.
          Manufacturing solar panels uses more energy (in oh-so clean China) than it will ever return in their lifetimes. SCAM!
          These taxes are theft, designed to ruin US. Go away, elite communists.

          • This is not a redistribution of wealth — it is a plan to move Vermont’s economy into the clean-energy future, and to do as much as possible to make the transition painless, especially for working Vermonters. We are going to go to zero fossil fuel one way or another — either we use up all the fossil fuel and then go to another energy source, or we go to another energy source before we use up all the fossil fuel. There are a lot of people making a lot of money on fossil fuels, mainly because they get to steal clean air from all of us instead of paying for it. You pay for your waste water, and you pay when you take a load of solid waste to the transfer station, but we all get to dump pollution into the air for free. A carbon tax simply fixes this mistake in the free market. If you price carbon properly, the market will find solutions in terms of cleaner ways to heat and to move and to power. And if we can do that while protecting working Vermonters from the costs of the transition, everyone wins.

          • Gordon, I confirm all you say. Asking a Q of Bram Kleppner. assume the Carbon Tax is in place, your company will have to pay something. However is he to absorb this tax, or add it to his product or service? Either way his Carbon Tax will be zero. People don’t understand this. Politicians (like Sanders) says tax the corporations. His followers don’t know they are the ones that will be paying. If the businesses can’t raise their overhead to absorb this tax (or any taxes) they must fold up shop or move. Corporations do not pay taxes. So Mr. Bram Kleppner will essentially be unaffected only to the extent there are people in VT to buy his services, if his business is totally in VT.

            I had a business for 26 years and know something about it and all the governmental grief / crap a business determent.

            So, how is this Carbon Tax amount to be metered? Installing “smart meters”, Then there’s the paperwork and man-hours involved sending the papers and money to the state. Desk jockey bureaucrats going to send out tax bills? Will the tax amount be truthful? What rate will be the tax now? It’ll be increased in the future as taxes all have done, never reduced. Where is this “new” money going- Legislative pet projects, paying off retirement & medical programs mostly for Government employees (& teachers) ? The VT Tax Dept is already of incompetent boobs. Let’s see they are to collect a tax, then spread out the money outflow, after they grab their portion for Governmental overhead? They are doing this already with the property tax, pay more then due, then “give back” a certain amount if you file your yearly homestead papers. More paperwork, bigger Government, more trouble, more people leaving.

            Considering the comment “The ESSEX Plan is a carbon pricing plan designed specifically for Vermont, to improve the Vermont economy, to immediately lower the monthly bills for working Vermonters, and over the longer term to help lower-income Vermonters get out from under the burden of paying for heating oil and gasoline.”

            Prove it, you have a crystal ball? How do taxes improve an economy?

            No taxes produce more community wealth when money is left in the community by a factor of about 10:1 and more people benefit. Spreading the (taxed) wealth is welfare. I can’t see giving more power to the Government bureaucrats. How can that be desired? Isn’t VT taxed enough now?

        • Well, I invite all to attend a protest of the proposed “Carbon tax” plan. Citizens that the authors of the carbon tax schemes profess to consider, will be there.

          On Saturday, March 23, 2019, at 9 AM, in and out in front of the StateHouse, the “No Carbon TAX Vermont” group will present our ideas and PLAN points. We take seriously the climate, greenhouse gasses and well-grounded legislation. In our plan, Vermonters will hear and read new concepts and truths that the authors of the “Essex plan”(Carbon tax plan) failed to present to the media. Our plan will offer ideas improve the economy, but not in the way the “Essex plan” claims it would, as it Legislates a substantial and growing tax, then offers its well-hyped path to Vermonters attaining wealth (via the future “green job economy”).

          All the more disheartening to observe Pro CARBON TAX corporate business alignments, with multi-billion dollar foreign corporations such as Unilever.

          #NoCarbonTaxVermont

    • Thank you for your comments. For the record, your company, as well as Black River Produce, were sent electronic inquiries about the boycott (by this reporter) via Facebook’s messaging service. While we did not receive responses in time as noted, we appreciate your response here. L.V.

    • I don’t have a problem with businesses and individuals attempting to get to zero fossil fuels, I actually commend your efforts. It’s when you attempt to use the government as a strong arm to force others to conform to your end goals.

      There are other methods than a carbon tax to reduce the rate of global warming like adding sulfates to the lower stratosphere which would be much more effective but somehow I don’t hear this suggestion from climate fear mongers.

    • Tell me where it is written that the Pentagon said climate change was the greatest threat to security. Thanks for backing up the statement made.

  2. Two carbon tax bills have been introduced in the House: H.463 (Colburn and Gonzalez) and H.477 (Gonzalez) but neither one will be considered, at least not this year.
    For the latest on the newly hatched backdoor route to a carbon tax, see my commentary on the “The Disappearing Reappearing Carbon Tax”. It should be up at ethanallen.org Monday.

  3. It’s time to wake the sleeping giant and realize what is really going on in Montpelier. The progressive agenda is destroying Vermont one piece at a time. By not voting out these people when we had the chance inn 2018 we are all going to suffer under their tyrannical government. #802VTALLIANCE

    • Sun Common, which is owned by VPIRG (ugh) now has 3 people in the legislature. One is the wife of the President of Sun Common, now a legislator. How nice! Do you think she should recuse herself on every carbon tax, energy, legislation? But will she??? Will the others?

      Becca White, a Sun Common Employee, from Hartford, VT, is in the House!
      Kari Dolan , wife of the President of Sun Common, is in the House!
      Mike McCarthy, an employee of Sun Common, is in the House!

      Know these names. Know how they vote.

      • Yes and Vermont conservation others that share board members with VNRC along with grading legislators on how they vote on VNRC pushed legislation bankrolled Dolan and Grad.

        Question, how did the PAC not coordinate with Grad And Dolan when all the flyers they sent out had both of them on it?

  4. These mentioned companies won’t be paying for any carbon tax, if they did, they would add the cost to the product. It all comes down to the taxpayer whether you buy their products or not.

    Reading the article, I note these women legislators voting / wanting this carbon tax. They won’t be paying for it
    Rep. Rebecca White (D-Hartford), Mollie S. Burke, P-Brattelboro, Sarah Copland-Hanzas, D-Bradford, Mary Sullivan, D-Burlington and you know House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, D-South Hero will endorse. Democrats all.

    Black River Produce started out in Ludlow and expanded to move into the Idlenot plant in N. Springfield. Guess with the expansion, many Liberals were hired and moved into management. No longer a friendly company seeing this mentality.

  5. I am not surprised to see Danforth Pewter on the list. They did not hesitate to take advantage rural Vermont for their own profit. To off-set their own carbon producing kiln operations, they installed a 300 kW solar system in the blue collar residential Town of Addison. This was of course subsidized with our taxes and Montpelier provided incentives while reducing our property values.

  6. Come and support us at the Anti Carbon tax rally on March 23rd from 9 to noon under the golden dome… come hear our speakers… let your voice be heard that day…

  7. I’ve boycotted Ben & Jerry’s for years and I don’t live in VT. Pray for your success in the boycott.
    Where can I buy one of those cool t-shirts?

    • “I’ve boycotted Ben & Jerry’s for years ”

      I’m proud to say I have never ever had even a lick of B&J ‘s over priced ice cream and lived here all my life. The other’s listed I have also boycotted even though I didn’t know I should be… Woodchuck intuition i guess.

      On a pic I saw of school chitlern at the state house protesting climate change said I hart wind. It was professionally made not a kids sign. I would like to have one of the beloved windmill she was promoting with hundreds of bloodied maimed and dying birds at the base of it and asked her if she still harts her windmill knowing it was decimating the bird population?? To say nothing of the damage it does to people living near them.. Ignorant little twits being led big bigger ignorant twits.

  8. All these companies are supported by those who want a carbon tax, those who don’t want a carbon tax, I suspect are already not buying these products.

    If people truly want to reduce their carbon foot print, let’s make it so they can, with out a carbon tax. You’ll get both conservatives and democrats working together.

    Some people have been taught there is only one way, carbon tax…..and that the world is going to end via scientific studies, some are too young to realize they do this every 10-12 years and need to change the date and name all the time.

    Nothing wrong with being a good steward of the land and air, though last I heard plants love C02….but I digress.

    If we’re fighting, they have us right where they want us, never coming together.

  9. As the phrase says………..follow the money. Any time a business or an individual supports something that is apparently counter to their interests then there is assuredly something hiding in the bushes that the rest of us need to be very suspicious of. This type always likes to find a way to appear moral while getting rich and figuring a way to make everyone else make the actual sacrifices.

  10. There should be a law that any legislator or senator with ties to a business , union or entity that would benefit from a given piece of legislation , would be prohibited from voting on that bill or resolution.

    • That would resemble something called ‘ethics’ – so that will never happen. Strange how volunteers donating their time to be selectboard members have ethical standards, but those dolts in Montpelier don’t.

  11. True North reached out to several of the businesses named in the boycott for comment, but none responded at press time, you really didn’t think they would do you !!

    The seven Liberal Companies believe that with Liberal slanted Statehouse that there agenda
    will see the day of light.

    Wake up Vermont, liberals have ruined our state ( Debt, Taxes, Drugs ) just to name a few and
    they wonder why people are leaving the State in Droves !!

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