In today’s Climate Dispatch, VNRC’s Johanna Miller and VCV’s Lauren Hierl are joined by House Majority Whip Representative Mike McCarthy to discuss a high-level overview of the big climate and environmental justice priorities currently advancing in the legislature.
We’ve been pushing for significant investments on climate this legislative session, as the state grapples with meeting our rapidly approaching 2025 and 2030 emissions reduction requirements. And as you’ll hear from Rep. McCarthy, the legislature is committed to big progress on climate, and has invested more than $200 million in unprecedented funding for these key priorities, including support for increased access to clean and affordable heating and weatherization services for low- and moderate-income Vermonters, expanded incentives and grants for electric vehicles (EVs) and EV supply equipment, support to ready homes and our state’s energy grid for electrification, investments in our climate workforce, and aid to municipalities to reduce their energy costs and carbon footprints.
Additionally, the Vermont House took a critical step forward in addressing a long history of undue environmental injustice by passing Vermont’s first statewide Environmental Justice bill, S.148, with a strong vote in support. The bill will be critical in bringing Vermont in line with the majority of other states working to design meaningful solutions for justice through deep public engagement and partnership with those most impacted by undue environmental harm.
The Clean Heat Standard, H.715, the largest pollution-reduction prong of Vermont’s Climate Action Plan which will require fossil fuel heating providers to reduce pollution in the state’s thermal sector, cleared its final legislative hurdle but was unfortunately vetoed late today by Governor Scott. The bill will now head back to the Legislature for a potential veto override session in the coming week or weeks. The Clean Heat Standard is a key component of our state’s commitment to reducing our emissions and we’ll continue the hard work of ensuring this policy becomes law.
Call to Action
With so much swirling, including exciting investments and long-overdue progress on justice, the most important action you can take at this moment is to call the governor and express your disappointment that he vetoed the Clean Heat Standard, and urge him to support the other important climate bills headed his way. There is no time to delay any further on transformative and needed climate policy.