MONTPELIER – In a change of direction for Energy Independent Vermont, lobbyists have given up on getting a carbon tax passed for gasoline, diesel, natural gas, and propane. Instead they have successfully lobbied to change the definition of litter, and state and local officials have now begun handing out tickets to anyone seen driving a motor vehicle or using heat in a home not equipped with solar panels or a wind turbine.
“We’re very excited about this,” said EIV member Hugo Greene. “When you think about it, releasing carbon into the atmosphere is really no different than throwing a piece of carbon out your car window on the highway, so why wouldn’t you be ticketed for littering when you trash the air? All this time we were looking for new laws to create, when we had the tools needed to save the planet all along. We don’t need more laws. We just need to enforce the laws we already have.”
Traffic was very congested around the state as troopers and officers stopped every car that was not powered solely by electricity and handing each driver a violation ticket which, by state law, cannot be more than $500. Many reported tickets of lower amounts, ranging from $10 to $50, as law enforcement tends to be more lenient for first time offenders, although some worried about the future.
“Sure, I got a $12 ticket today, but I have to go to work tomorrow too!” worried a commuter in Waterbury. “That is, if I can even get to work. Traffic is backed up for miles! Everyone is getting pulled over. This is nuts. I wish they’d come up with some other way to deal with this.”
The commuter was firmly opposed to a carbon tax, but stated that they would be more than willing to pay slightly higher prices for gasoline if it meant a shorter commute and no tickets for littering the air. A review is planned for the new littering enforcement system in six months. Until then, police are advising commuters to leave an extra ten to twenty hours early for work each day.
Image Credits: Ruben de Rijcke.