I just wanted to give you all a heads up that the Vermont Climate Council, the board charged with coming up with a plan to reduce Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions per the Global Warming Solutions Act, is holding events over the next couple of weeks to gather public input. The closest physical meeting to our district will take place this Wednesday, September 22, 5:00-7:00pm: Emerald Lake State Park Pavilion, 65 Emerald Lake Ln in East Dorset. Virtual events via Zoom will happen on September 30th and October 6th for general population, and on October 5th for BIPOC communities only, all at 7:30 pm.
As a member of the House Energy and Technology Committee, I have been monitoring the deliberations of the Climate Council carefully and can’t express strongly enough the need for citizens to take advantage of these opportunities to make your voices heard. What comes out of this Council, and how the legislature reacts to their recommendations, could profoundly impact all our lives and pocketbooks for the foreseeable future.
Whatever the final package of policy recommendations is, it will be incredibly expensive. At the most recent meeting of the Council, one member quipped, “We’re talking about weatherizing 150,000 homes at $10,000 a pop. That’s $1.5 billion dollars. Where’s that going to come from?” Great question! To put that figure in perspective, it is more than twice the annual revenue raised by the entire state individual income tax. And weatherization is only one small part of what will be a much larger and more comprehensive plan that will touch nearly every facet of our lives and livelihoods.
Some of the ideas coming out of the Council include putting 42,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2025 (this means taxpayer funded subsidies for EV purchases). There are currently about 4000. Banning fossil fuel use (oil, natural gas, etc.) for cooking and water heating by 2030, and for space heating by 2035, which could leave you on the hook for a expensive remodel in the near future. Taxpayer funded buyouts of properties in climate sensitive areas.
Other related policies to climate change include requiring all building contractors/handymen (and women!) and rental property owners to register with the state. The public relations argument for this is consumer protection, but the real behind-the-scenes reason is this will enable strict enforcement of these new environmental regulations and create new revenue streams via the fees and mandates to pay for them. This all will, of course, make it more expensive to own, rent, and maintaining a home in Vermont.
So, you see, if such a greenhouse gas reduction plan is to move forward, it will require significant tax increases, fees, regulatory mandates, and costs to you to meet those regulations. If you have thoughts and opinions on this, now is a good time to speak up. If you can’t make any of the public outreach meetings, all of the Climate Council and subcommittee meetings set aside time for public input, and, of course, you can always contact me with ideas and concerns.
Rep. Sally Achey
For more information about the Climate Action Plan, please visit https://climatechange.vermont.gov/(link is external). Event details can be found at https://climatechange.vermont.gov/getinvolved(link is external).
PPS. The full public meeting schedule:
- Tuesday, September 21, 5:00-7:00pm: Elmore State Park Pavilion | 856 VT-12, Elmore, VT
- Wednesday, September 22, 5:00-7:00pm: Emerald Lake State Park Pavilion | 65 Emerald Lake Ln, East Dorset, VT
- Thursday, September 23, 5:00-7:00pm: Lakeside Park Pavilion | 32 Mill St, Island Pond, VT
- Sunday, September 26, 3:00-5:00pm: Airport Park Pavilion | 500 Colchester Point Rd, Colchester, VT
- Thursday, September 30, 6:00-7:30pm: Virtual event via Zoom
- Tuesday, October 5, 6:00-7:30pm: Virtual event via Zoom for BIPOC communities
- Wednesday, October 6, 6:00-7:30pm: Virtual event via Zoom