As we wrap up the 2024 legislative session, we have a lot of progress to celebrate. At the beginning of the biennium in January 2023, we were coming out of a huge election that brought dozens of new lawmakers to Montpelier and a pro-environment supermajority. Vermont lawmakers delivered on monumental climate action and environmental legislation this biennium. 

The 2024 session came on the heels of a year that underscored the reality of climate disruption, with devastating flooding impacting communities, ecosystems, and infrastructure throughout Vermont. These climate disasters shaped legislators’ priorities when they arrived in Montpelier this past January. Addressing flood mitigation, meeting the climate and housing crises head-on, protecting our critical natural resources, and ensuring the health and safety of Vermonters were at the forefront of lawmakers’ minds. The bills they passed demonstrate their commitment to strong action on these issues. 

The Legislature took notable steps to protect our communities and infrastructure from future flooding through the enactment of a bill that establishes protections for Vermont’s wetlands and river corridors, and makes significant improvements to the safety of dams that contribute to flooding across the state. 

Additionally, a groundbreaking, nation-leading bill was passed to ensure that Vermonters are not left shouldering the full cost of climate disruption. Lawmakers created a program to hold the largest fossil fuel companies accountable for their fair share of costs inflicted on Vermont as a result of climate pollution from their products. Establishing a “climate superfund” will help Vermont invest in disaster response, climate adaptation, resilience, and infrastructure improvements. 

We worked diligently alongside lawmakers to advocate for legislation that shifts the Act 250 process so it will be applied based on a proposed development’s location, which will make it easier to build housing in well-planned areas in Vermont’s large and small communities while simultaneously protecting critical natural resources, including our intact forests, wildlife habitat, and headwaters. 

On the clean energy front, modernization of our Renewable Energy Standard took center stage in the State House, as lawmakers advanced a bill to put Vermont on track to achieve 100% renewable electricity across all the state’s utilities by 2035. The bill also significantly increases the requirement for utilities to support new renewable energy in Vermont and the region, taking major steps toward ensuring that all Vermonters can access clean energy in the coming years. 

Finally, two bills to reduce the use of toxic chemicals advanced this year. First, a bill to ban harmful neonicotinoid pesticides, or “neonics,” was overwhelmingly supported by lawmakers. Neonics contribute to pollinator loss and pose potential risks to public health, but are still widely used by farmers – despite research showing they provide little to no benefit to those who use them. This bill is a huge step forward in protecting Vermont’s pollinators – keystone species that are integral to our ecosystems and food system. Additionally, lawmakers unanimously passed legislation to help protect Vermonters’ health by restricting PFAS “forever chemicals” from cookware, juvenile products, artificial turf, and textiles, as well as banning a range of harmful chemicals from personal care and menstrual products. 

The advocacy of VNRC and VCV – and the engagement of our members and coalition partners – helped make these victories possible. Our organizations collaborate to bring both policy expertise and political savvy to our advocacy campaigns. VNRC leans on its longstanding history of bringing a nuanced, well-researched, community-informed perspective to policy debates. VCV holds lawmakers accountable using tools like our online Environmental Scorecard, and works to recruit, train, and elect candidates who share our vision to deliver on strong, pro-environment, legislative majorities for Vermont. 

As we now head toward another election this fall, VCV is eager to keep working to reelect environmental champions and build on the significant achievements of the past two years. VNRC will continue to convene coalitions to develop inclusive campaigns to connect with Vermonters about the important issues facing our communities and our environment. Our work would not be possible without your support, so thank you for all you do! 

Read the 2024 Legislative Bulletin