Gov. Phil Scott’s press office occasionally releases lists of gubernatorial appointments that are so long as to defy close reading. So, if not for the sharp eyes of a VPO reader, I would not have noticed that our Moderate-Republican-In-Chief had appointed Rob North to the District 3 Environmental Commission.
You may recall North from my 2022 campaign series about stealth Republicans. He ran for House last year, positioning himself as a reasonable guy who wanted to bring “Common Sense, Trust, and Transparency” to the Statehouse. Problem is, he had an easily discoverable record as a hard-right Christian who rabidly opposes abortion, has an active role in the conservative Evangelical “church planting” effort in Vermont, and is a member of a fringey denomination that forbids divorce, bars women from the ministry, and believes that the theory of evolution is heresy.
Look I realize that the governor has to fill literally hundreds of vacancies on our bottomless pit of boards and commissions, but really now. This guy?
But wait, I haven’t even gotten to the stuff that ought to disqualify North from serving on any DEC. At a candidates’ forum last fall, he said the real environmental issue wasn’t global warming, it was the quality of our waterways. Furthermore, he downplayed the role of agriculture in the excess nutrient loads in our rivers, streams and lakes.
He acknowledged that farming produces “only 40%” of the nutrient load entering Lake Champlain, the same percentage that comes from “wetlands, streams and forests.”
First, I’d like to know how you suss out those percentages. I mean, the lion’s share of the farm runoff doesn’t go straight into the lake; it gets there via “wetlands, streams and forests.”
But even if you give him the benefit of the doubt on waterway science, he misses the crucial point: The nutrients from those sources are naturally occurring. They’re the base load that Lake Champlain has processed without issue for millennia. It’s the human-caused emissions that have overburdened the lake. And by his own accounting, most of those emissions come from agriculture.
Rob North is a remarkably retrograde character to be appointed to any post by a “moderate” Republican. It seems an especially egregious choice for an environmental body responsible for “land use and development plans.”
Then again, one of North’s colleagues on the DEC is Suzanne Butterfield, longtime ultraconservative fixture in the VTGOP and one of its two members on the Republican National Committee. So maybe Rob North is exactly the kind of person Phil Scott is looking for in environmental policymaking.
It’s just a funny move for a self-proclaimed moderate who professes to believe that global warming is a human-caused threat to the planet requiring decisive action.
So much for tolerance and diversity on your part. This man is probably an almost lone voice among hundreds of secular liberals. Would you deny conservative Christians even that much of a voice? Must everybody in government think alike? If you are a man you can believe you are a woman, but if you believe in creation vs. evolution (young Earth vs. old Earth) you are some kind of unbalanced weirdo? Please.
Let’s get NASA to hire some Flat Earthers, then.
John, believing in creation vs. evolution does not make the man a flat earther. Has he himself said he is a flat earther? If not, you are obliquely mis- characterizing him. Many reputable scientists give credence to creation by a Divine Creator or a combination of creation/evolution. His is not a far-out position to take. And did you know that the Bible itself calls the Earth round? No joke. It says “God sits above the circle of the Earth”. Some translations say “the sphere of the Earth”. The Bible itself does not support a flat earth position, so if the man is a Christian he cannot support that position. You should read the Book, John.
John, I am glad you have read the Book. Now you just need to believe more of it and scoff less. Bone up more on many of the things it actually says. Did you know about the “circle” or “sphere” statements in the Old Testament that I pointed out? Think about it. The Old Testament Jews were shepherds and nomads and later carpenters and fishermen. How could they possibly know the Earth was round except for divine revelation given to the writers of the various Old Testament books of Scripture? There was no way the desert-dwelling Jews would know that on their own.
Observation of the sun, moon and stars would do the trick. They got those in the desert, don’t they?
Really creepy guy.
And I thought he would crawl back into the woodwork after we soundly voted no for him. So much for Scott’s Mister Nice Guy “I’m a Moderate” schtick…. again.