Climate Dispatch: March 24, 2023: Conservation & Climate Progress with Rep. Amy Sheldon 

Today’s Episode

Today we’re joined by Representative Amy Sheldon, Chair of the House Committee on Environment and Energy, to hear the latest progress on a few major environmental priorities now that we’ve reached the crossover milestone.

In an exciting victory for the protection of Vermont’s forests, wildlife and community resilience in the face of climate change, today the House voted with strong support to advance H.126, an act related to community resilience and biodiversity protection. This bill now heads to the Senate, and if enacted, it will create an inventory, plan and public engagement process for Vermont to implement our Climate Action Plan recommendation of conserving 30% of Vermont’s land by 2030, and 50% by 2050. 

Additionally, a paramount climate bill is now in Chair Sheldon’s committee – S.5, the Affordable Heat Act. After months of work in the Senate, the bill now includes a provision that requires a 2-year program design and public engagement process before the Legislature must vote again before the program would be implemented. The House Environment and Energy Committee started their due diligence on the bill this week, and they will be digging in much deeper over the coming weeks. 

Call to Action

This bill is now headed to the Senate because of the hard work and leadership of members in the House. Please call or email your Representatives and thank them for voting yes on H.126 to protect Vermont’s natural resources and biodiversity. Find a list of which Representatives voted to support this bill, which also links to their contact information, here. 

And on the Affordable Heat Act, we need your help! State representatives are already hearing from people who have been bombarded with fossil fuel industry misinformation, sowing fear about the potential impacts of this policy. The fossil fuel industry wants to keep us tethered to the deeply inequitable, dirty, unsustainable status quo. We know this policy is focused on helping all Vermonters transition to cleaner and more affordable ways to heat their homes. We can’t afford to stall out on climate progress for yet another year. 

Please reach out to your Representative(s) and ask them to support S.5, the Affordable Heat Act. Find out how to contact members of the House Committee on Environment & Energy here.