Climate Dispatch: February 25, 2022: S.148, An Act Relating to Environmental Justice in Vermont

Today’s Episode

In today’s Climate Dispatch, VNRC’s Johanna Miller and VCV’s Shelden Goodwin are joined by Senator Kesha Ram Hinsdale and Conservation Law Foundation’s Elena Mihaly to overview and celebrate a major milestone – Vermont moving ahead with enacting a statewide environmental justice policy. 

Today, on a 5-0-0 bipartisan vote, the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee advanced S.148 – An Act Relating to Environmental Justice in Vermont! 

Don’t miss this important Climate Dispatch for an update from two of the people who have been working hardest to make this moment happen, Senator Ram Hinsdale in particular. For 15 years, Senator Ram Hinsdale has been working to ensure the State of Vermont enshrines its commitment to environmental justice in law so that all Vermonters can access and enjoy clean, affordable energy, clean air and water, 21st century transportation options, the woods, waters, and mountains of Vermont and much more. 

This is an incredibly important and exciting milestone to mark! There is also much more work to do to move S.148 through the full Legislature and, critically, ensure it receives the funding it needs to successfully stand up and implement the policy. 

“Passing an Environmental Justice policy framework out of Senate Natural Resources unanimously today is a milestone decades in the making. So many people who consider themselves stewards and caretakers of the land and their communities have felt left out of the environmental movement. This brings us one step closer to finding the light at the crossroads between the environmental and social justice movements, particularly in a rural state like ours. Onward!”  – Senator Kesha Ram Hinsdale

Call to Action

Please call or email your Senators! If your Senator sits on the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee (below), please thank them for their vote on this important bill. If your Senator has not yet voted on S.148, please reach out and ask their support of the bill and, importantly, the funding it needs to succeed. Find your Senator – and their contact info – here.

Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee Members: 

There are so many environmental justice champions who made this moment happen. We thank them all! And, we look forward to working with those leaders, with you and with as many Vermonters as possible to stand up S.148 successfully and, also, ensure that other essential and ensuing programs, policies and processes center equity and justice. 

On the climate progress front, we are also excited to relay that the House Energy and Technology Committee voted yesterday (7-2) to advance a Clean Heat Standard. VNRC and VCV support a well-designed Clean Heat Standard as a potentially transformative mechanism to, finally and with certainty, annually ratchet down climate-warming pollution from heating our homes and buildings. Thank members of the House Energy and Technology Committee for their hard work on the Clean Heat Standard. And, while lawmakers are home next week for the Town Meeting Day break (ideally taking some time to decompress from their hard work as citizen legislators!) thank them for their strong commitment to equity-enhancing, job-creating, money-saving climate action!

From all of us at VNRC and VCV, our sincere thanks to Senator Ram Hinsdale, Elena Mihaly and so many other EJ leaders who made this important milestone on S.148 possible. And to Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee members, House Energy and Technology Committee members, and all climate-committed legislators who understand the need for long-overdue climate progress.