Blurt | Solid State | Omnivore | Mistress Maeve | Freyne Land

Seven Days Blogs: Freyne Land

« Gov. Chocolate of Vermont | Main | Thursday Fun »

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Klein Straightens Record

R7klein Over in that old-fashioned world of alternative weekly newspapers, this response from State Rep. Tony Klein [right]  just landed in my inbox.

It's a straightening-of-the-record directed at our "Inside Track"  item in which Douglas Administration utility point-man David O'Brien, Comish of the PSD,  unloaded on Speaker Gaye Symington and the Democrats over H. 520 - the big Global Warming legislation that Gov. Jim Douglas will veto this week.

Apparently our audio-tape transcriber (me), incorrectly attributed a Klein quote to his committee chairman  - Rep. Bob Dostis.

Apologies for the error.

Here's Rep. Klein's statement in its entirety:

Hi Peter

Just to keep the record straight. I made the statement on-air on The Mark Johnson Show about "don't count us out" and "it's too important a piece of legislation. But more important are the statements made by Commissioner O'Brien [pictured below] about breaking existing agreements with Vermont Yankee and upsetting employers such as IBM,GE and Ethan Allen.

The legislature is not breaking any agreements with VY. We have two signed MOU's with VY. One for the up rate and one for dry cask storage. Those are agreements and we aren't changing one thing in those agreements. The bill proposes a change in existing legislation. The legislature changes legislation all the time!

Psd_obrien Just for the record IBM and members of AIV have opposed every piece of energy legislation passed by the legislature in the five years that I have now served. So that they opposed H.520 is no surprise!

I noticed the Commissioner never mentioned the companies that do support H.520 like our homegrown Ben and Jerry's, Green Mountain Roasters and NRG Systems among many others. These companies were created here by Vermonter's.

The Companies that O'Brien seems to only represent certainly weren't created here and certainly don't have their headquarters located within the boundaries of Vermont.


Rep. Tony Klein


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Klein Straightens Record:



huh? What's a MOU and an AIV?


(p.s. Rep. Klein is right!)


NRG, supports it because it provides tax incentives for all their solar panels and doesn't tax them even though it is an "all fuels tax." Ben and Jerry's may have been homegrown, but is as far from a VT company as Entergy is.

No they aren't breaking an agreement, just adding another stipulation, semantics.....


An "MOU" is a memorandum of understanding. "AIV" is Associated Industries of Vermont.

NRG Systems is a Vermont manufacturer of wind measurement systems. They do not produce solar panels, and thus do not receive any "tax incentive for their solar panels." In fact, they do not even manufacture wind turbines. They are not a fuel provider (either of wind or solar). Rather, they make the equipment that allows wind developers to put the turbines in the appropriate place.

More and more Vermont businesses are looking ahead and beginning to understand that efficiency measures stand to save them money - all businesses, not just those in and around the energy industry stand to gain through increased efficiency measures, as do homeowners. The cheapest source of energy we have is the kilowatt hour we do not have to use or purchase.


I stand corrected, they make money off the equipment needed to produce the power that qualifies for those incentives. Either way they stand to benefit from the bill.

And the reason this bill got vetoed is due to the funding source not the actual content. Douglas is going to interact parts of it by executive order anyways. Which parts do you think, the tax on energy or the unnecessary committees set up to run it? Had the legislature simply provide an equitable funding source the bill would have been signed. Thanks Shumlin for killing a good bill by insisting on pursuing your vendetta against VY. Hope the people you represent correct their mistake, when your term ends.


The direct benefit to either manufacturers of wind measurement equipment or to developers from this bill can only be marginal. The market for wind is national and international (large scale developers). Given how few windpower projects there actually are in Vermont the argument that NRG, or any other windpower company stands to gain substantially from what is primarily an efficiency fund (with some incentives for renewables as well) is specious.

Even if Vermont could suddenly implement all the windpower plans currently under review it would not compare with what manufacturers can sell to developers overseas and in wind-rich states where the projects are substantially larger and more numerous. Therefore, your suggestion that renewable energy companies are only in it for their own gain does not pass muster.

Does it create a favorable atmosphere and breed social acceptance for the developers who ultimately use their products? Yes. Do green companies like NRG, Northern Power, GroSolar, etc. like to see initiatives like this? Yes. Would it be a nice little success story for Vermont? Yes (depending on your perspective). Will there be some economic benefit? Yes, but it will be marginal compared to growth trends in other places.

To suggest that a state with a population of 600,000 with a small number of wind farms on the drawing board is going to contribute substantially to any company's plan for future growth is like saying that Ben and Jerry's planned to become an international brand by only selling ice cream to Vermonters.

The economics do not bear out your theory. It may be a part of creating a more diverse energy infrastructure for Vermont, it may add a small boost to the bottomline, it may send a positive message and breed acceptance for green energy and efficiency, but any gains for private companies in Vermont are likely to represent only a fraction of a successful company's total sales. To suggest that a company (any company) can rely solely on whatever small benefit they might receive from this bill is inconsistent with fundamental business principles. No company would plan their growth around such a strategy.

Vermonters (and socially responsible businesses) should be behind this effort because it is good for the future of the state, good for Vermonters' health and welfare, and yes, good for their bottomline b/c through efficiency measures everyone saves money. Finally, a more diverse energy portfolio creates certainty and reliability for rates and the grid over time. As any business owner will tell you certainty and reliability are key ingredients on which to build success. Our energy contracts are up for renewal in the near future. Any steps we take now to provide for reduced use and/or to lessen our reliance on existing contracts only increases our leverage for those discussions and helps to mitigate rate increases that may result from future contracts.


JPC is right. Shumlin himself destroyed a reasonable bill by pursuing his well-documented vendetta against VY.


"Will there be some economic benefit? Yes"

I never said they would base their entire business on it, just that they have something to gain and as such is a biased opinion. Would they still support the bill if it taxed solar energy at 35%

simon says

"NRG, supports it because it provides tax incentives for all their solar panels and doesn't tax them even though it is an "all fuels tax." Ben and Jerry's may have been homegrown, but is as far from a VT company as Entergy is."

What? Can't find any way to belittle or character assasinate Green Mountain Roasters?


So, jpc, by your logic the entire Vermont Chamber of Commerce should never lobby for any tax breaks or business incentives because they "have something to gain" and therefore have a "biased opinion."

This is like the horse and buggy industry saying that cars should never have been allowed to expand their markets or lobby for acceptance and incentives because the horse and buggy should dominate the market and always should; therefore these newfangled contraptions and their supporters shouldn't be allowed to speak up, or if they do we should all be suspicious (and don't try to argue that Henry Ford was self-made and all the money to support the auto industry was private - all you have to do is look at the federal highway system to see your taxpayer dollars supporting an entire industry. Without nice, smooth roads to travel on the car industry would not be where it is today. Does it serve a governmental purpose? Absolutely. Does it also serve the industry? Absolutely.).

It always fascinates me how proponents of old, dying industries (oil, coal, nukes, etc.) (who by the way have for years received more taxpayer largesse than any renewable or efficiency industry players) love to get their way, but if anyone breathes a word of leveling the playing field then suddenly it's a "government handout" to businesses who are "self-interested." If ever there were an example of the pot calling the kettle black this is the one.

Let's face it, what oil, coal and nuclear industries are really concerned about is losing market share to new competitors. Centralized utilities are worried about distributed energy and independent power producers and loss of market share as well.

If we removed all subsidies from fossil fuel and nuclear companies (I'm not actually suggesting that we do, mind you - although a slow phase out over time could be doable) and put all that money into existing renewable technologies and efficiency programs the results would be dramatic.

In the short term fuel costs would go up, of course (but then that would only reflect the true and actual costs of those fuels without your tax dollars propping up those industries). On the other hand, suddenly solar, wind, etc. would be as competitive (and frankly probably cheaper) than those outdated technologies and then the market could decide which was the better product.

Isn't that what "free" markets are really all about? The proponents of oil, coal, and nukes sound like dyed-in-the-wool socialists trying to protect their government handouts.

Finally, of course transitioning to renewable energy, efficiency and distributed generation protects against terrorism (no central grid to knock out), reduces our reliance on Middle East oil which funds terrorism, and creates good paying American jobs. Hard to argue that those are not virtuous goals.

Progress, anyone?


I am actually for lowering our dependence on oil, and using more renewable energy, the point is that these businesses have something to gain and therefore it is unwise to take what they are saying a face value. That was my point. But being shady is irresponsible. Calling something all fuels tax when it is a tax on Nuclear power, is intentionally being misleading. I wish the Legislature had taken the 30 million surplus and used that as their funding source. Probably would have been signed and this whole mess would have been avoided.


That's true: it's not an "all fuels" tax. It's a tax on one single company. They threw in wind -- which generates absolutely zero, zero, zero power in Vermont --as cover for the fact that it's a tax on one non-carbon emitting company -- a company that Shumlin has decided to hate. I like the idea behind the bill. Chgange the unfair, irrational funding source and I'll become a big supporter.

The comments to this entry are closed.

All Rights Reserved © SEVEN DAYS 1995-2008 | PO Box 1164, Burlington, VT 05402-1164 | 802.864.5684