Douglas and Democrats at odds over global warming bill

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(Host) Governor Jim Douglas and Democratic leaders are so far apart on the global warming bill that they can’t even get together to talk about it.

Douglas yesterday called off a meeting with Democrats. His spokesman, Jason Gibbs, accused Senate President Peter Shumlin of political grandstanding and trying to negotiate through the media.

(Gibbs) “Releasing press releases in the 11th hour and putting fait accompli plans on the table and trying to generate a media circus around this issue is not an effective way of negotiating and working toward a compromise. So what we’ve done is rather than waste the governor’s time with Senator Shumlin’s political stunts, we’ve chosen to postpone the meeting until such time as Senator Shumlin can demonstrate that he’s willing to have private conversations in good faith.”

(Host) Douglas vetoed the global warming bill because he objected to a tax on the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. He also opposes the expansion of the Efficiency Vermont energy conservation program.

Shumlin and House leaders offered to take the Yankee tax off the table. They hoped to meet with the governor to discuss a compromise.

Shumlin said he’s disappointed with the governor’s decision not to meet. He called on the governor to get more involved in the global warming debate.

(Shumlin) “The governor has simply stood in the way of any attempt we’ve made to have a thoughtful discussion with him. And that’s why we wanted to so badly to meet with him. The governor doesn’t want to pass this bill. He doesn’t want to do anything about climate change. He doesn’t seem to want to save Vermonters money by reducing our dependence on oil. And the fact that he would cancel this meeting when we finally get him to the table to have a conversation with us is a real disappointment.”

(Host) Shumlin said that the administration’s protests about his discussing the talks with the media don’t make sense. He said the governor and lawmakers are public figures who talk to reporters all the time about legislative and policy issues.

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