Making Big Oil Pay

VCV's Executive Director, Lauren Hierl, speaks at the launch of the Make Big Oil Pay campaign in Burlington

The Climate Superfund Act, which became law in 2024, marks a first-in-the-nation effort to hold the world’s largest polluters responsible for the mess they have made.

The law is modeled on the federal EPA Superfund program, which has helped clean up – at the polluters’ expense – over a thousand toxic waste sites across the country, including several in the Green Mountains. The legislation requires the largest fossil fuel companies that had a business presence in Vermont from 1995-2024 to pay for a share of climate change costs proportional to their emissions . 

The Vermont Climate Superfund would then provide funding for disaster response and climate change adaptation projects in the state, including nature-based solutions and flood protections, upgrading stormwater infrastructure, and making proactive upgrades to transit systems to make them more resilient to the impacts of the climate crisis.

The law will likely be challenged in court by the fossil fuel industry, but lawmakers are confident they did their due diligence.

“We know that Big Oil will fight this in the courts,” said Representative Martin LaLonde (South Burlington), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, “But, as an attorney myself, and having worked closely with many legal scholars in shaping the bill, I believe we have a solid legal case. Most importantly, the stakes are too high – and the costs too steep for Vermonters – to release corporations that caused the mess from their obligation to help clean it up.” 

We’ll keep you posted about updates to the Climate Superfund

Our Victories

Honey bee closeup on sunflower

Protecting Pollinators from Harmful Pesticides

Solar Panel on flooded field

Improving Flood Resilience

Solar panels and sun reflection under dramatic sky

Committing to 100% Renewable Electricity by 2035

Girl drinking water

Removing Lead Fixtures from Schools

State house in fall with people on lawn

Furthering Environmental Justice

Advancing the Global Warming Solutions Act

Removing Derelict Dams

Strengthening Act 250

VNRC has been very effective in creating change in this area.

Fighting PFAS and Toxic Contamination

Protecting the Land and Views at Exit 4

Guiding Municipalities to Implement Act 171

Forming and Supporting Energy Committees

Protecting the LaPlatte River Marsh Wetlands

Ensuring Clean Streams at Jay Peak

Promoting Statewide Dam Safety

Preserving Downtown Bennington

Convening the Forest Roundtable

Creating Statewide Precedent on Biomass Electricity

Protecting Black Bear Habitat at Parker’s Gore

Securing Clean Water Funding

Maintaining Current Use

Banning Billboards

Declaring Groundwater a Public Trust