Vermont finding it tough to meet green goals

Here, in Vernon, on the Connecticut River, is the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, which was shut down in 2014. Vermont had for many years the highest rate of nuclear-generated electric power in America — at almost 75 percent. Vermont is one of only two states with no    coal-fired power plants   .

Here, in Vernon, on the Connecticut River, is the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, which was shut down in 2014. Vermont had for many years the highest rate of nuclear-generated electric power in America — at almost 75 percent. Vermont is one of only two states with no coal-fired power plants.

From Robert Whitcomb’s “DIgital Diary,’’ in GoLocal24.com

A Jan. 28 story in The Boston Globe, “In Vermont, a progressive haven, emissions spike forces officials to consider drastic action,’’ contained some irony: The Green Mountain State, long associated with environmentalism and progressive politics in general, has failed by a long shot to meet its stated aims of slashing carbon emissions. Indeed, these emissions have risen 16 percent from 1990!

Part of the challenge is the high percentage of ownership of aging, energy-inefficient pickup trucks, which, as in many mostly rural states, are sort of the official state vehicle. Further, cheap gasoline during the past few years has encouraged even more driving in a state whose residents are accustomed to traveling long distances every day.

Another problem in the heavily forested state is the heavy use of wood as fuel for heating. You can see smog in some river valleys from the many wood stores and furnaces. (I remember back when I lived in the Upper Connecticut Valley in the late ‘60s that wood (a carbon-based fuel!) was promoted as the wonderfully natural way to help wean ourselves off that nasty Arab oil.)

And while transportation is the largest single source of emissions – 43 percent – the closing of Vermont’s only nuclear-power, in 2014, made the state more dependent on fossil-fuel power plants. Global warming may make promoting nuclear power easier.

The administration of Gov. Phil Scott, a moderate Republican whom I’ve met and like, has come up with a detailed program to cut admissions, which includes, The Globe reports:

“{P}rograms to help improve energy efficiency in homes, financial incentives for electric vehicles, and protections for the state’s forests, which are in decline for the first time in a century.’’

In any event, it will take a long time for The Green Mountain State to get as
“green’’ as the rest of the country might think it is.

To read The Globe’s story, please hit this link.