There have been a number of letters citing the need for a Vermont carbon tax. Some proposing as much as $0.50 a gallon since energy prices are currently low. Although I don’t disagree that global carbon emissions need to be reduced, I vehemently disagree that Vermont needs to tax itself out of existence. As we are already one of the highest taxed states in the country, a carbon tax would not only inhibit sorely needed economic growth, but would cause an undue financial hardship on all of us with virtually no impact on carbon emissions.
If the Vermont Legislature is intent on doing something, then they should consider thinking globally and acting locally to ban (or tax) the sale of out-of-state Renewable Energy Credits (REC’s) as a means to both force out-of-state power companies to clean up their emissions, and help Vermont meet its renewable energy goals. REC’s sold out of state have effectively reduced Vermont’s hydropower from 61 percent to 45 percent of our renewable energy portfolio. Thus, as more large scale Vermont renewable energy projects are built, and selling REC’s out of state to offset their costs, Vermont’s renewable energy goals slip further and further away.
I, for one, feel that I have already done more than my small part by installing a rooftop solar array and keeping the REC’s. To me a carbon tax would be a slap in the face after the large investment I (and many others) have already made. Perhaps the Legislature should be thinking more about how to provide incentives for Vermont renewable energy projects, as opposed to taxing the state out of existence.
Marty Post, Killington