Blue States Find Yet Another Climate Racket To Penalize American Businesses

(Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images)

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Nick Pope Contributor
Font Size:

Vermont enacted a law Friday that will require energy companies to pay huge sums to cover costs purportedly driven by climate change — and several other states may be following suit.

Republican Vermont Gov. Phil Scott allowed his state’s climate “superfund” bill to become law Friday without his signature, obligating energy producers that emitted more than one billion tons of greenhouse gases since 1995 to pay into a “superfund” that would be tapped to pay for disasters purportedly caused or exacerbated by climate change, according to NBC News. The new law is likely to become the subject of a legal battle with the energy industry, and some blue states — including New York and Massachusetts — are looking to pass similar bills in the near future.

“What these states are basically saying is, ‘if you make things we don’t like, we’re going to fine you into oblivion for what you’ve done anywhere in the world. And we’re going to use all that money to pay for products and projects favored by progressives,'” OH Skinner, executive director of the Alliance for Consumers, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The message that corporate America is going to hear, which is really bad for consumers, is stop making things that Vermont and California and New York don’t like, take them off the market and start making whatever New York and California are going to spend these billions of dollars on.” (RELATED: This Populous Blue State Has A Green Energy Mandate. Experts Say It Threatens Grid Reliability)

Vermont Governor Phil Scott (L) and Vermont Democratic gubernatorial challenger Christine Hallquist meet prior to holding a debate September 14, 2018 at the Tunbridge World’s Fair in Tunbridge, Vermont. (Photo via Don Emmert/AFP via Getty Images)

The amounts that companies owe would be calculated based on an assessment of how much climate change contributed to extreme weather in Vermont, and how much damage those events cost, according to NBC News. Then, each companies’ proportion of the total obligation would be decided by how many tons of carbon dioxide they each emitted between 1995 and 2024.

Scott did not sign the bill because he is skeptical that a state of Vermont’s size can effectively take on major corporations and recover damages, and that a failure may hurt other states’ efforts to force oil giants to pay up, he explained in a Thursday letter to lawmakers. However, he “[understands] the desire to seek funding to mitigate the effects of climate change that has hurt [his] state in so many ways.”

Meanwhile, the American Petroleum Institute, the biggest oil and gas interest group in the U.S., has derided the Vermont bill and characterized it as potentially unconstitutional. Yet the potential threat of litigation may not dissuade other states from advancing similar legislation over the finish line in the near future.

The Rockefeller Family Fund — a well-funded progressive charitable organization managed by descendants of oil tycoon John Rockefeller — has pushed state and federal officials to pass “superfund” bills to penalize energy companies, including in Vermont, according to The Wall Street Journal. Other activist organizations, including the Sierra Club, have touted climate “superfund” laws as an effective means of going after traditional energy producers. (RELATED: American Billionaires Bankrolled Activist Crusade Against Natural Gas Hubs Before Biden Signed Off On Approval Pause)

State lawmakers in Maryland introduced their own version of a climate “superfund” bill earlier in 2024, but the package did not make it out of committee this legislative session, according to Maryland Matters. While the bill did not make much progress this year amid concerns from some skeptics that it would hurt consumers or be subject to a protracted legal battle, proponents expect that it will be back on the table next year.

California also has its own “superfund” bill to consider as well, and the legislation potentially could provide the state with billions or tens of billions of dollars, according to Politico. SB 1497 would instruct the state to charge energy producers who did business in the state and emitted more than one billion tons of greenhouse gases between the 2000 and 2020, a description that fits approximately 40 corporations.

New York is also sitting on a similar “polluters pay” bill. The legislation would require major energy companies with a presence in the state to cumulatively pitch in $3 billion annually for 25 years for the state to pay for climate-related infrastructure projects, but it may be stalling out in the state assembly after passing the state senate, according to E&E News.

Massachusetts, another deep-blue state, also has a climate “superfund” bill making its way through the state legislature, according to E&E News. Like New York, Massachusetts will look to collect $75 billion from energy producers through the bill if it becomes law.

The offices of Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, Democratic Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democratic Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact