2022 Environmental Common Agenda Identifies Top Legislative Priorities on Climate Action, Equity, & Resilience
Montpelier, VT — Today, Vermont Conservation Voters (VCV) released the 2022 Environmental Common Agenda, a guide to this year’s top legislative priorities for Vermont’s environment and communities. This year’s Common Agenda highlights that we are in a time of profound challenges and historic opportunities. Find the full 2022 Environmental Common Agenda at this link.
Each year, the Environmental Common Agenda highlights legislative priorities from a range of organizations working at the forefront of Vermont’s environment and human health, and drawing from a vision that includes promoting social, racial, and economic justice, and strengthening our democracy.
This year’s Environmental Common Agenda recognizes that our communities are being stressed by the ongoing pandemic, which is exacerbating problems and inequities in many systems we rely on, including public health, education, and childcare. These strains are further contributing to the housing crisis, food insecurity, workforce shortages, racial injustice, and more.
“While we are facing significant challenges, Vermont has an unprecedented opportunity to invest federal and state funding into building healthier, more equitable, and more resilient communities in all corners of our state,” said Lauren Hierl, executive director of Vermont Conservation Voters.
The policy priorities identified in the 2022 Environmental Common Agenda seek to address many systemic challenges we face. In particular, the recommendations build on the state’s recently-released Climate Action Plan. Many of the steps identified in the plan can help Vermonters and local businesses save on their energy bills, build more equitable communities, reduce pollution, invest in natural solutions, protect wildlife habitat, improve public health, strengthen our communities’ resilience to extreme weather, and train a workforce for the 21st century.
Specifically, the environmental community is calling on lawmakers to:
- Move forward the Climate Action Plan, with equity prioritized:
- Implement strategies to dramatically reduce climate pollution, including investing at least $150 million in FY23 in climate solutions; enacting the Transportation Innovation Act; and advancing a Clean Heat Standard and weatherization for all.
- Adopt an Environmental Justice law that would take steps to ensure that no segment of the population should suffer disproportionate environmental harm or lack access to environmental benefits.
- Implement strategies to improve our communities’ climate resilience, including incentivizing additional housing in smart growth locations while better protecting our forests, farms, wetlands, waters and other vital natural resources.
- Protect public health by reducing people’s exposure to PFAS and other toxic chemicals in cosmetics, hold toxic polluters accountable, and cut plastic pollution by modernizing the state’s Bottle Bill.
- Promote a healthy democracy.
Read the full 2022 Environmental Common Agenda for more details on each of these priority issue areas.
Shelden Goodwin, political outreach director for Vermont Conservation Voters added, “We are excited to work with lawmakers and our partners to move Vermont forward on issues affecting our air, water, wildlife, land, communities, and health. We have an opportunity to pass meaningful legislation and make historic investments that will help Vermont rebuild in a more equitable way that protects our environment for future generations.”
The Environmental Common Agenda is a project of Vermont Conservation Voters, with participation from the following partner organizations: Audubon Vermont; Community Action Works Campaigns; Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC); Conservation Law Foundation (CLF); Lake Champlain Committee (LCC); Preservation Trust of Vermont; Rights & Democracy; The Vermont Climate & Health Alliance; Vermont Chapter of the Sierra Club; Vermont Conservation Voters (VCV); Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL); Vermont Natural Resources Council; Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG); and 350VT.
Learn more about Vermont Conservation Voters, and find more information about the Environmental Common Agenda, at: vermontconservationvoters.org.