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Vermont Shakes Down Oil Companies for Climate Change Reparations

Vermont has just passed a dramatic climate change law that will require oil companies to pay up for business conducted legally decades ago.

In a move that could only emerge from the depths of bureaucratic fantasy, Vermont has crowned itself as the first state to mandate that fossil fuel companies pay reparations for the supposed climate havoc they’ve wreaked. This legislation comes on the heels of catastrophic flooding last summer, which proponents are quick to chalk up as definitive proof of climate change’s toll, thus necessitating this financial extraction from “Big Oil.”

Republican Governor Phil Scott, walking a political tightrope in a state dyed deep blue, let the bill pass into law without his signature. His apprehension is palpable, reflecting deep concerns about the prudence of a lone, small state like Vermont waging a potentially ruinous legal war against an industry with pockets much deeper than the state’s coffers. Yet, Scott’s acquiescence speaks volumes about the pressures even moderate Republicans face to conform to progressive environmental agendas, irrespective of practicality or potential backlash.

Last year’s floods, which inflicted severe damage across Vermont, are being weaponized as a rallying cry for this law. Proponents are painting a doomsday scenario, likening it to the devastating 1927 flood to amplify the emotional appeal. But beneath this veneer of environmental concern lies a dangerous precedent: the demonization and penalization of an industry for the alleged effects of legally conducted business activities dating back decades.

Oil Companies Will Be Punished for Legal Business Conducted Years Ago

Under this law, an extensive audit from 1995 to 2024 will calculate supposed damages linked to greenhouse emissions, with the goal of pinning financial responsibility squarely on fossil fuel entities. It’s a retrospective witch hunt that not only seeks to punish but to fundamentally reshape the economic landscape under the guise of environmental stewardship.

This is nothing short of a shakedown, a punitive measure that retroactively targets businesses for engaging in legal activities. It’s an overreach that tramples on the principles of equal protection and due process, holding companies accountable for broader societal actions. This isn’t just an environmental policy; it’s a perilous slide towards economic reengineering, where businesses operate under the constant threat of retroactive penalties for unfavored but lawful conduct.

While Vermont may fancy itself a legal pioneer, this misguided crusade could set a precedent that, if replicated, would spell disaster, chaining our economic dynamism to the whims of whichever political winds blow hardest. Governor Scott and Vermont’s lawmakers might believe they’re leading a moral charge, but in reality, they’re stepping onto a slippery slope that endangers the principles of fair commerce and threatens to entangle the state in a legal quagmire with dubious chances of victory.

Robert Chernin

Robert Chernin

Robert B. Chernin has brought his years of political consulting and commentary back to radio. As a longtime entrepreneur, business leader, fundraiser and political confidant, Robert has a unique perspective with insights not heard anyway else. Robert has consulted on federal and statewide campaigns at the gubernatorial, congressional, senatorial, and presidential level. He served in leadership roles in the presidential campaigns of President George W. Bush as well as McCain for President. He led Florida’s Victory 2004’s national Jewish outreach operations as Executive Director. In addition, he served on the President’s Committee of the Republican Jewish Coalition. Robert co-founded and served as president of the Electoral Science Institute, a non-profit organization that utilizes behavioral science to increase voter participation and awareness. Robert can be heard on multiple radio stations and viewed on the “Of the People” podcast where you get your podcasts.