A study supporting a proposed $500 million carbon tax in Vermont was funded by a renewable energy developer who stands to benefit from taxes targeting competing energy sources.
On Dec. 3, pro-carbon-tax representatives of Energy Independent Vermont debated leaders of the free market think tank the Ethan Allen Institute on taxing gasoline, propane, natural gas and other fossil fuels to combat global warming.
While the debate focused largely on the tax’s economic impact relative to its negligible impact on reducing CO2, backers repeatedly referred to a 2014 study that claims a carbon tax would boost Vermont’s economy and create jobs.
The study — Economic, Fiscal, Emissions, and Demographic Implications from a Carbon Price Policy in Vermont — prepared by Regional Economic Models Inc., was funded by Vermont’s most prominent green-energy CEO.
“(It’s the) Blittersdorf Foundation. It’s written in the REMI analysis that there are several foundations that helped us pay for that study,” Paul Burns, executive director of Vermont Public Interest Research Group, told Vermont Watchdog.
David Blittersdorf, the AllEarth Renewables CEO who operates solar and wind energy plants across Vermont, is perhaps best known for telling Democratic voters that Vermont’s plan to become 90 percent renewable by 2050 could require giving up cars and constructing wind turbines across 200 miles of ridgelines.