Montpelier – Today, in a decisive vote of 107-42, the Vermont House of Representatives voted to override Governor Phil Scott’s veto of S.5, the Affordable Heat Act. The veto override vote comes on the heels of the Vermont Senate’s 20-10 vote to override the veto, meaning the bill will now become law despite the Governor’s unprecedented efforts to rally Vermonters to oppose the bill and the fact-finding process it would catalyze. Today’s vote shows that no amount of fear-inducing misinformation from Governor Scott and the fossil fuel industry will stop the progress we need to make to help combat the climate crisis.
The Legislature’s decisive votes to override the Governor’s veto means that Vermont can now spend the next two years getting the information we need – and Vermonters deserve – to study, gather public input, and understand how to best design a heating market that incentivizes cleaner heating options for all Vermonters and builds a sustainable transition for fuel dealers. Then, a 2025 Legislature will have the opportunity and obligation to vote again and determine whether to enact the program.
“We are grateful to the House and Senate for their hard and thoughtful work on the Affordable Heat Act, and their strong votes to override the Governor’s misguided veto. The Legislature recognizes that it’s deeply irresponsible to leave Vermonters vulnerable to fossil fuel price spikes like we’ve seen in the past year, and instead, they voted to move forward with developing a pathway to help all of our community members transition to cleaner and cheaper heating sources,”said Lauren Hierl, Executive Director of Vermont Conservation Voters.
“Vermonters are facing a climate emergency and a heating crisis, and the status quo isn’t working for anyone,” said Elena Mihaly, VP and State Director at Conservation Law Foundation. “Governor Scott’s attempts to kill this legislation threatened to continue an irresponsible business-as-usual approach that would have left Vermonters overly reliant on polluting, expensive fossil fuels. We don’t have a moment to waste and look forward to the law’s implementation.”
“The legislature’s votes to override Governor Scott’s ill-considered veto of the Affordable Heat Act finally puts Vermont on the path to equitably transition to cheaper, cleaner heat,” said Ben Edgerly Walsh, Climate & Energy Program Director for the Vermont Public Interest Research Group. “We’re deeply appreciative of the enormous amount of time and effort both the House and the Senate put into this legislation, and look forward to working throughout the next two years to ensure the program put before the legislature in 2025 is as well-crafted as this bill.”
“I deeply appreciate the Legislature’s commitment to doing the hard work necessary to do our part to reduce planet-warming pollution,” said Johanna Miller, Energy and Climate Program Director at the Vermont Natural Resources Council. “The status quo isn’t serving anyone well. Not people, and certainly not the planet. There are cleaner, more affordable solutions, and the process the Affordable Heat Act will catalyze is essential to understanding what those solutions are so that no Vermonters are left behind in this inevitable transition.”
“We applaud the Representatives who cast their vote today to override the Governor’s veto. Their yes vote represents the bold action that we need on climate change,” said Roxanne Vought, Executive Director, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. “We look forward to the process this policy initiates to get the information we need to design the best policy possible to deliver on affordability, climate and a just transition for Vermonters and Vermont’s fuel providers.”
“This is a real victory for Vermonters who need a just transition off of fossil fuels. This bill is the first step to allow Vermont to create energy and cost saving programs for all Vermonters. Thank you to the legislature for taking the leadership on this needed work ,” said Dan Fingas, VT Movement Politics Director for Rights & Democracy.
“The Vermont Sierra Club is pleased with the Vermont House and Senate votes to override Governor Scott’s veto. These thoughtful Representatives and Senators took the time to overcome the fear tactics distributed by opposition groups and a political philosophy that prefers the status quo. We believe regulating heating fuels is critical in reducing carbon emissions and meeting our state’s legally binding climate requirements. The Affordable Heat Act is a step forward in removing Vermonter’s dependence on dirty and expensive fossil fuels,” said Robb Kidd, Conservation Program Manager, Vermont Sierra Club.
Johanna Miller, VNRC, email@example.com, 802-371-9611
Ben Edgerly Walsh, VPIRG, firstname.lastname@example.org, 802-734-7680
Lauren Hierl, VCV, email@example.com, 860-670-2629
Dan Fingas, Rights & Democracy, firstname.lastname@example.org, 802-578-6272
Roxanne Vought, VBSR, email@example.com, 802-859-0344
Robb Kidd, Vermont Sierra Club, firstname.lastname@example.org, 802-505-1540
Elena Mihaly, CLF, email@example.com, 802-622-3009