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Understanding Vermont’s historic investments in climate action

When the 2021 legislative session wrapped up last week, we celebrated historic investments in climate action, clean water, affordable housing, broadband, and other critical programs that will benefit Vermont’s people, environment, and communities. Learn more here.

The Legislature committed $250 million for climate and clean energy programs that will put Vermonters to work, save people money on their monthly energy bills and begin to address disproportionate energy burdens and other inequities. This historic investment in building a clean energy economy will be critical in the state’s successful implementation of the Climate Action Plan, which is being developed following the enactment of the Global Warming Solutions Act last fall. 

Here is a breakdown of some of the highlights of the climate gains resulting from this year’s state budget. (Thanks to our partners at VPIRG for compiling this list!)

  • $23 million for weatherization. This is going to cut energy bills and climate pollution for thousands of Vermont families (free, for low-income households), and support a major push in job training as well.
  • $10 million for a new “Affordable Community-Scale Renewable Energy Program.” While some details are still being worked on, this program should support both solar and advanced wood heating options for low-income Vermonters, allowing thousands of families who would otherwise likely be unable to make an upfront investment in these clean energy options to do so.
  • $5 million for the Clean Energy Development Fund, which will be used to further advance equity and climate action.
  • $1.5 million for the Community Action Agencies to hire energy & financial advisors to work with low-income Vermonters and help them get on more solid financial footing, especially by reducing the burden their energy bills cause, by cutting fossil fuel use.
  • $1 million for Regional Planning Commissions to work with municipalities around the state to implement their energy plans, from city halls being weatherized, to heating systems being upgraded, to downtown development and smart growth plans being fleshed out.

Check out our Climate Dispatch from May 28, where we speak with VPIRG’s Ben Edgerly Walsh about the budget allocations for climate action. If you haven’t already, contact your legislators to thank them for approving these historic investments!

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