By Rob Roper
If we really want to save the planet from climate change, the real solution is to ban the internal combustion engine. I bring this up because I am told by two legislators in a position to know, that this was a serious topic of debate last week in the House Energy and Technology Committee.
What sparked the conversation was testimony by Jon Erickson, the “David Blittersdorf Professor of Sustainability Science & Policy” at UVM. (Yes, there is such a thing. This is not a belated April Fools Day post, as much as it might sound like one.) The committee was lamenting the fact that Vermont has failed pretty miserably at meeting the emission reduction goals set out by the Legislature, and someone asked what would have to be done if we seriously intend to meet those goals. Answer: ban the internal combustion engine.
Well, it might be the only policy that could get anyone to ride David Blittersdorff’s proposed taxpayer-subsidized train from St. Albans to the Global Foundries campus in Essex, so perhaps that’s why his endowed professor pushed the concept. Although, without a cab ride from Essex to Burlington or Williston, you’d really be stuck in the middle of nowhere when you got off that train — so maybe not.
I’m left shaking my head. This is the most bizarre legislative session I’ve ever experienced. There is serious talk of making Vermonters pay reparations for slavery, the annual joke bill banning plastic bags is now poised to become law, a legislator voted against the $6.1 billion budget because she thinks it will lead to “planetary collapse,” and the chairman of the Transportation Committee doesn’t own a car, so who needs the internal combustion engine anymore.
How do you take all this seriously — except for the fact that these people are spending $6.1 billion of our hard earned money to actually do these things. It’s as if we came across a group of college kids getting all politically philosophical while eating pizza, drinking beer and doing bong hits late night in the dorm and decided, what the heck, let’s let these people run our state. What could go wrong?