Climate Dispatch: April 21: Affordable Heat Passes the House with Rep. Laura Sibilia

Today’s Episode

Tomorrow is Earth Day, and we’re celebrating a major win for climate! Yesterday, the Vermont House of Representatives voted 98-46 to support S.5, the Affordable Heat Act on second reading and today they advanced the bill back to the Senate. Today, we’re joined by Representative Laura Sibilia, vice chair of the House Committee on Environment and Energy and yesterday’s floor reporter for the bill, as well as Ben Edgerly Walsh of VPIRG.  

The Affordable Heat Act would ensure that clean heat measures in Vermont, such as weatherization and heat pumps, will go to low- and moderate-income households. Transitioning to clean energy technology is already happening for those who can afford it, but many Vermonters are experiencing high costs for heating their homes and currently have limited support for moving away from fossil fuels. As we heard from Representative Sibilia, it’s vital that the Legislature has taken this important step forward to help improve the inequitable, polluting status quo for all Vermonters. 

The House made some important improvements to the bill, and now it heads back to the Senate for concurrence or further action before it will make its way to Governor Scott’s desk. The Governor has already signaled that he will once again veto this significant climate policy, so the fight is not yet over. The Legislature would then have to vote to override his veto – and we are hopeful that they will. 

Call to Action

Representatives have spent long hours over the past few months working hard on this policy, ensuring that they deliver on a bill that is truly going to offer an equitable, climate-accountable and affordable transition away from fossil fuels in our heating sector. Now is a great time to see how your Representatives voted on S.5 yesterday, and reach out and THANK THEM if they voted yes! You can also find out how your legislators voted on all key environmental bills this session by checking out Vermont Conservation Voters’ environmental scorecard. 

Thank you for ALL you did to support this policy – and please stay tuned as we work to ensure this bill makes it across the finish line. 

Happy Earth Day – and see you next week!