‘The stripping away of personal choice’

Posted 5/22/24

An article appearing on May 4th of this year, in the Providence Journal, discussed at length recent legislation introduced by Sen. Alana DiMArio, Sen. Meghan Kallman and Rep. Rebecca Kislak, all of …

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‘The stripping away of personal choice’


An article appearing on May 4th of this year, in the Providence Journal, discussed at length recent legislation introduced by Sen. Alana DiMArio, Sen. Meghan Kallman and Rep. Rebecca Kislak, all of whom are Democrats. The legislation would prohibit the use, over time, of all fossil fuels in new buildings and thus new homes. The favored form of heat would be electric heat pumps. All this in pursuit of meeting certain standards of Gov. Dan McKee’s, 2021 Act on Climate, which calls for a net zero emissions goal by 2050.

A closer look shows the true intent of these bills, the stripping away of personal choice in matters regarding climate control in new homes and businesses and more government control over our lives. For generations Rhode Islanders have chosen how they heat their homes and businesses based on what’s right for them and their families both personally and financially.

Apparently, we can no longer enjoy that level of freedom. Clearly, the State government is moving toward the goal of removing all fossil fuel use in favor of all electric, seemingly, taking away all choice in how you can heat your home or business. This is curious as RI uses less petroleum than any other state except Vermont*. We have the second lowest CO2 emissions of any other state* except Vermont and we consume less energy than any other state except (you guessed it) Vermont*. Senator Kallman was quoted in the PROJO article as saying, “ If we don't tackle this we are in trouble”. Are we in the second lowest amount of trouble? Perhaps she might want to check the aforementioned information from the U.S. Energy Information Administration *. Consider this, China creates 11.5 million tons of CO2 annually, more than any other country on the planet. It would take the U.S. 15 years to reach that level, according to climate.gov. Compared to China, how can little ole’ Rhode Island’s miniscule CO2 output possibly impact the bigger picture. Is the sacrifice of our right to choose going to save the planet ?

Let me be clear, I’m not opposed to the use of heat pumps or alternative sources of energy.

I am opposed to being forced to spend my hard earned dollars unnecessarily, how and when the government tells me to. People are entitled to make choices or at least they were.

The legislation also calls for encouraging the conversion of existing homes to heat pump systems as a replacement for traditional oil and gas furnaces with a goal of 15% completion in the next six years. The conversions could cost between a few thousand dollars and $20,000, according to the article. That may or may not be an accurate estimate but if they tell you one thing it’s usually another. The article went on to say, the McKee administration has federal dollars available to offset the cost of the upgrade. That program is for those meeting certain economic criteria. As expected, if you happen to be among the working middle class, you may qualify for only a small portion of the cost.

The article went on to say, the larger legislative plan includes a credit system to encourage this phase out of all fossil fuels. Apparently, RI Energy (natural gas) and heating oil providers would have to pay the cost of the credits. Economics 101, companies don't pay taxes or surcharges, consumers do.

As I see it, eventually this will shut out the small Mom & Pop heating oil companies across Rhode Island. This includes making the employees unemployed and the possibility of leaving these businesses to the next generation out of the question. Tack onto that, the massive reduction in jobs on the natural gas side of Rhode Island Energy and one can see an even greater economic impact for the State. Just what we need, more lost jobs and fewer dollars in the local economy.

Rhode Island has adopted a very aggressive plan to increase renewable energy; it includes massive amounts of solar panels as well as offshore wind farms in support of this green agenda. Admirable, until you think about the consequences. Solar farms have been proposed in various unsuitable areas including the middle of a residential area here in Johnston (55,000 panels).

That solar farm would wipe out 180 acres of trees and other vegetation as well as displacing numerous wildlife for a minimum of thirty five years. Further, how many years after that will it be until the land is once again sustainable for trees and vegetation.

An offshore wind farm near Block Island has five turbines online with surely more to come.

There have been reports that it wreaked havoc with the fishing industry, birds and marine mammals, including whales and dolphins. Green agenda indeed.

All this raises an interesting question, why are these Democrats and apparently so many others, so committed to forcing everyone to heat their homes and businesses with electricity. I can’t believe they’re so concerned about the environment that they’d force this down the throats of Rhode Islanders regardless of the economic impact. Why are they supporting RI Energy and Big Electric in their endeavor to replace competitive market pricing on heating oil, propane and natural gas ?. Why would they want one single source to heat your home with no other choice despite the fact that our CO2 and petroleum impact seems tolerable compared to other States and countries ? As I always say, when you want to know the answer to a question, follow the money. So, guess who’s going to make all the money. With the market on heat cornered this might be a good time to invest heavily in RI Energy, I have a feeling others already have.

Richard R. Fascia,
of Johnston

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