Vermont Conservation Voters

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Climate Dispatch

Curious what’s happening at the State House and how you can make your voice heard? Tune into the online conversation by following the #ActOnClimateVT hashtag on social media, and watch our near-weekly legislative update posted shortly after 12PM on Fridays during the legislative session (and otherwise as needed). Missed one? Find all episodes here.

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May 13, 2022: That’s a Wrap! End of Session Overview and One Last Call to Action

Today’s Episode

In today’s Climate Dispatch, as the 2021-2022 Legislative Biennium comes to a close, VNRC’S Johanna Miller and VCV’s Lauren Hierl share a wrap-up overview of the progress that was – and was not – made on climate this session. 

This session, the legislature made historic investments in climate action in the FY23 budget. While these investments will help many more Vermonters and communities access clean energy solutions, they will not be sufficient to make the longer-term progress Vermont needs in order to meet our emissions reduction goals in the coming decade and beyond. There was also a significant level of investment in the transportation space for clean energy alternatives, including funding to implement new electric vehicle (EV) incentives, EV charging infrastructure, funding for programs to help lower-income Vermonters access more efficient vehicles, and much more.

Additionally, the Municipal Energy Resilience Initiatives Bill, H.518, was passed by both bodies and – if signed into law – will mean tens of millions of dollars dedicated to helping municipalities make needed infrastructure investments to install clean and efficient energy solutions and improve their resilience.

We’re disappointed by the demise of the Clean Heat Standard, H.715, which was a performance-based standard that would have required fossil fuel providers to participate in the clean energy transition. The Governor, despite getting what he asked for in the final version of the bill, vetoed the legislation anyway. The legislature fell just one vote short of what was needed to successfully override the veto. Despite the urgency of acting on climate, with scientists making clear we have no time to lose, Vermont must now go back to the drawing board on a solution for emissions reduction in the heating sector, our second largest emissions sector.

And finally, the Environmental Justice bill, S.148,  passed both bodies of the legislature in good form and with funding for new positions within the Agency of Natural Resources, as well as funding available to help support the work of the equity council. This was a top priority bill this session and a recommendation of the Climate Action Plan, and is now on its way to the Governor’s desk for a signature. Unfortunately, we’re hearing the Governor’s office might have concerns tied to the funding needed to implement the bill, despite the fact that the legislature included in this year’s budget the exact funding that the Agency of Natural Resources testified they would need to begin implementing the program.

Call to Action

The future of the Environmental Justice (EJ) bill is uncertain. As one last call to action, we’re asking that you please call Governor Scott and leave a message, or use this email form, to send a message demanding he sign S.148, the Environmental Justice bill. Vermont is one of the few remaining states that has yet to implement this type of policy, and we’re being asked to adopt an EJ policy by the federal EPA. We have to do the right thing to make sure no Vermonters are unfairly burdened by pollution, and all are able to benefit from our state’s environmental benefits. 

We will be back in touch soon as we head into an election season and begin the hard and critical work of electing climate allies to office so we can make the necessary progress on creating an equitable, sustainable, and livable future for Vermonters.  


May 6, 2022: Key Climate Priorities Advancing in the House with Rep. Mike McCarthy

Today’s Episode

In today’s Climate Dispatch, VNRC’s Johanna Miller and VCV’s Lauren Hierl are joined by House Majority Whip Representative Mike McCarthy to discuss a high-level overview of the big climate and environmental justice priorities currently advancing in the legislature. 

We’ve been pushing for significant investments on climate this legislative session, as the state grapples with meeting our rapidly approaching 2025 and 2030 emissions reduction requirements. And as you’ll hear from Rep. McCarthy, the legislature is committed to big progress on climate, and has invested more than $200 million in unprecedented funding for these key priorities, including support for increased access to clean and affordable heating and weatherization services for low- and moderate-income Vermonters, expanded incentives and grants for electric vehicles (EVs) and EV supply equipment, support to ready homes and our state’s energy grid for electrification, investments in our climate workforce, and aid to municipalities to reduce their energy costs and carbon footprints. 

Additionally, the Vermont House took a critical step forward in addressing a long history of undue environmental injustice by passing Vermont’s first statewide Environmental Justice bill, S.148, with a strong vote in support. The bill will be critical in bringing Vermont in line with the majority of other states working to design meaningful solutions for justice through deep public engagement and partnership with those most impacted by undue environmental harm.

The Clean Heat Standard, H.715, the largest pollution-reduction prong of Vermont’s Climate Action Plan which will require fossil fuel heating providers to reduce pollution in the state’s thermal sector, cleared its final legislative hurdle but was unfortunately vetoed late today by Governor Scott. The bill will now head back to the Legislature for a potential veto override session in the coming week or weeks. The Clean Heat Standard is a key component of our state’s commitment to reducing our emissions and we’ll continue the hard work of ensuring this policy becomes law. 

Call to Action

With so much swirling, including exciting investments and long-overdue progress on justice, the most important action you can take at this moment is to call the governor and express your disappointment that he vetoed the Clean Heat Standard, and urge him to support the other important climate bills headed his way. There is no time to delay any further on transformative and needed climate policy. 


April 29, 2022: Live from Youth Lobby’s 2022 Rally for the Planet 

Today’s Episode

In today’s Climate Dispatch, VNRC’s Greta Hasler is joined by members of Youth Lobby live from their Rally for the Planet event at the Vermont State House. The focus of this year’s event was Jobs, Climate, Justice, and Future! 

Today, hundreds of students took to the State House lawn to push for climate action while the Vermont Legislature continues to work hard on a range of environmental priorities in the final days of the legislative session. 

Hear directly from members of Youth Lobby as they share the reasons why they are personally motivated to act on climate change, and what brought them to their work with Youth Lobby organizing the rally today. As Vermont continues to implement our recently-adopted Climate Action Plan, and many of its recommendations form the foundation of key bills moving through the legislature this session, it is critical that we continue to build momentum and enthusiasm around this work. There are a number of important bills that would help put Vermont on a path to creating a more equitable and just transition, invest in a clean energy workforce, reduce greenhouse gas emissions through support for clean, renewable energy systems, and much more! 

Call to Action

As we near the end of this legislative session, please reach out to your legislators. Thank them for all of their hard work on climate so far and let them know that Vermont cannot continue to support any more fossil fuels or fossil fuel infrastructure if we want a real chance of meeting our emissions reductions requirements. As the finishing touches on key climate legislation are made, ask that all state policies and investments be for clean, renewable energy systems and be building towards a sustainable future for all Vermont residents. As the students of Youth Lobby noted, we must act urgently if we want to leave a thriving, livable planet for generations to come. 


April 22, 2022: An Update on the Environmental Justice Bill in the House 

Today’s Episode

Happy Earth Day! In today’s Climate Dispatch, VCV’s Lauren Hierl is joined by Representative Kari Dolan and VPIRG’s Sebbi Wu for an update on S.148, the Environmental Justice bill, which is currently making its way through the Vermont House after recently passing the Senate with a strong 28-1 vote.

The House Committee on Natural Resources, Fish, and Wildlife, which Representative Dolan sits on, is currently in the midst of taking testimony on the bill. They plan to vote it out of committee as soon as early next week. Hear from Representative Dolan how this bill builds upon the important work of the Just Transitions Subcommittee of the Vermont Climate Council. She also provides a brief overview of its key components, including codifying the definition of Environmental Justice in state statute, creation of an Interagency Committee and Advisory Council for implementation, and establishment of a critical public engagement framework.

Sebbi also shares an update on the broad coalition working to support this bill – including a recent letter of support provided to House members, and the groundwork laid by other states that have passed similar legislation. The Environmental Justice bill is must-pass legislation this session, and will be critical in bringing Vermont in line with other states working to design meaningful solutions for justice through deep public engagement and partnership with those most impacted by undue environmental harm.

Call to Action

Please take a few moments to reach out to your Representatives and ask them to support S.148, the Environmental Justice Bill. It is past time that we get this law in place. As Representative Dolan noted in today’s episode, we must pass this bill so that Vermont can ensure in statute that every Vermonter is able to access environmental benefits and none are overly burdened by environmental harm. Thank you for asking your representatives to support the long-overdue Environmental Justice Bill this Earth Day! 

We’ll be back next week to give an update on the progress of all the exciting bills moving through the legislature as this session begins to wrap up, including an update on the Clean Heat Standard bill in the Senate. In the meantime, check out this NEW video on how the Senate improved the Clean Heat Standard, and why we support this bill!


April 15, 2022: A  More Accountable and Equitable Clean Heat Standard Advanced in the Senate Today

Today’s Episode

In today’s Climate Dispatch, VCV’s Lauren Hierl is joined by VPIRG’s Ben Edgerly Walsh and Energy Action Network’s Jared Duval for an exciting update on the progress of H.715, the Clean Heat Standard

The Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee voted 4-1 today to advance a significantly-improved Clean Heat Standard. This policy is the single largest pollution-reduction plank of the Climate Action Plan. This is the most impactful piece of climate legislation under consideration in the Vermont Legislature this year and has the potential to put Vermont on a course to reduce planet-warming pollution in the state’s second-most carbon intensive sector and help Vermonters access more cost-effective, climate-accountable, local heating solutions.

Tune into today’s episode of the Climate Dispatch here. 

The Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee made numerous and substantive changes to improve the greenhouse gas accountability, equity provisions, and to help ensure it will reduce climate pollution in line with our state’s mandatory climate commitments. In the Dispatch, we dig into a number of the key improvements to the bill. We worked hard to ensure the bill meets our principles of: 

  1. Requiring fossil fuel companies to cut climate pollution in the heating sector in line with Vermont’s legal emissions reduction requirements, as outlined in the Global Warming Solutions Act. 
  2. Achieving emissions reductions using a transparent, lifecycle approach; taking into account the full emissions created with options like biofuel. 
  3. Centering equity and requiring that a significant portion of clean heat benefits go to low- and moderate-income Vermonters, and those who have disproportionately borne the high cost of polluting fossil fuels. 

Call to Action

The version of the Clean Heat Standard that advanced today through committee is strengthened considerably from the version that passed the House, and achieves the principles laid out above. The bill will next head to the Senate Appropriations Committee, and then to the Senate floor. Now is the moment to reach out to your Senators! Let them know you support bold and equitable climate action and you want them to advance the Clean Heat Standard. 

It’s critical to show that the state is willing to take the hard actions on climate that are laid out in our state’s Climate Action Plan. We will continue to keep you updated on the progress of this bill and many others as the session progresses, so stay tuned for more soon!


April 8, 2022: Clean Heat Standard in the Senate

Today’s Episode

In this week’s Climate Dispatch, VNRC’s Johanna Miller and VCV’s Lauren Hierl are joined by Addison County Senator Christopher Bray, chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee (SNRE) to discuss several key climate-action initiatives advancing in the final weeks of the legislative session, including the Clean Heat Standard (H.715)

SNRE has been deep in testimony on the Clean Heat Standard, which is a performance-based measure intended to deliver stepped, equitable, pollution-cutting progress in the fossil fuel heating sector. For VNRC and VCV, we know that no policy will make all the climate progress we need and that there are no perfect, easy energy solutions. We also know that the design of a policy matters tremendously to ensure it delivers on its core goal with integrity, which is why we will support a Clean Heat Standard if it actually: 

This has the potential to be a necessarily disruptive and transformative policy that drives long-overdue progress towards reducing our reliance on polluting and price volatile fossil fuels. It’s beyond time to untether Vermonters from high-cost, 100% imported fossil fuels and implement a suite of strategies to help Vermonters use less energy, stay warm and get where they need to go with cleaner, more cost effective and renewable resources. The Clean Heat Standard and other commitments this year – in the FY 23 budget (H.740) and beyond – are critical to take our state a significant step forward to a cleaner, more affordable and equitable energy economy.

Call to Action

Please call or email your Senators this weekend or early next week and thank them in advance for supporting H.715 – the Clean Heat Standard – and the equitable, climate-accountable progress it can and must deliver.

As the world’s leading climate scientists have made abundantly clear recently: It is now or never when it comes to climate action.


April 1, 2022: Critical Climate Investments in the Budget

Today’s Episode

In today’s Climate Dispatch, VCV’s Shelden Goodwin and VNRC’s Greta Hasler discuss the FY 23 budget, H.740, which was recently passed by the Vermont House of Representatives with unprecedented investments in climate action and resilience, and will help Vermonters reduce their energy costs, their reliance on expensive and polluting fossil fuels, and much more. The FY 23 budget is now under consideration in the Senate, where we hope Senators will hold the line on — or strengthen — the House’s strong investments in climate action.

This level of commitment to climate action is essential and long overdue. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report has signaled a dire warning about our global future and the consequences of inaction – something underscored by the recent, harmful geopolitics demonstrating the high costs of remaining dependent on imported fossil fuels. 

Please take a moment to sign our petition to ensure the Senate secures the necessary funds to implement the Climate Action Plan and meet Vermont’s climate pollution reduction requirements. This petition is also being shared by many of our partners in the ActOnClimateVT Coalition. In a few weeks, our coalition will combine the signatures in a letter to all Vermont Senators.

Sign the Petition Here

Please support the package of more than $200 million in critical climate investments that were included in the House-passed budget and transportation bills, which will help cut climate pollution and advance equity. These investments must include, at a minimum:

              • $80 million for low- and moderate-income weatherization;

              • $20 million for low- and moderate-income electrical upgrades;

              • $5 million for heat pump water heaters for low- and moderate- income Vermonters;

              • $48.4 million for municipal energy resilience in H.518;

              • $19.25 million for electric vehicle charging infrastructure;

              • $22 million to support electric and efficient vehicles;

              • $2 million for energy storage and load management; and

              • $5 million for advanced metering infrastructure.

This set of investments will be crucial to implementing the state’s recently-adopted Climate Action Plan and meeting our statutorily-required climate pollution reduction targets. These investments will also help Vermonters access more affordable clean energy options to get around, electrify, and heat and weatherize our homes, and help our municipalities improve their energy resilience.

Now is the time to let your Senators know you support bold climate action and hope they will support the unprecedented level of investment included in H.740. Strong support in the Senate will show that Vermont is ready to do the hard work necessary to meet our climate action requirements.


March 25, 2022: Legislative Climate Progress with Co-Chairs of the Climate Solutions Caucus 

Today’s Episode

Don’t miss this week’s Climate Dispatch for a 10-minute, deeper-dive overview and look forward on the legislative landscape for climate action this session. VNRC’s Johanna Miller and VCV’s Lauren Hierl are joined by the Climate Solutions Caucus Co-Chairs, Senator Chris Pearson and Representative Sarah Copeland Hanzas.

This past week has been a huge week for long-overdue, equitable climate progress – with one huge highlight being the FY 23 Budget (the “Big Bill”) passing out of the House today by 135-4. This bill – H.740 – includes over $200 million in: weatherization; clean electrification; more efficient, clean transportation and heating investments; and more. This moment marks an unprecedented level of investment that, as the bill now moves to the Senate, is crucial to maintain (or better, expand) to help Vermonters realize all the cost-saving, public health and local economic benefits of more clean, local, renewable energy resources.

As the budget conversation now moves to the Senate, so do many other big policy priorities including the Clean Heat Standard (H.715), the Municipal Energy Resilience Initiatives bill (H.518) and the T-Bill, with essential, expanded transportation innovation funding. The just-passed Environmental Justice bill (S.148) will now move to the House. 

In short, whew! There is a lot happening. It’s long overdue. And it’s important to celebrate and appreciate all that the Legislature is lifting to help Vermonters reduce their energy burden, carbon footprint and become more energy independent.

Call to Action

Please call or email your House members today and thank them for their strong support for climate in the FY 23 budget! Call or email your Senators, too and thank them in advance for maintaining and expanding upon the House’s investment in climate action in the FY 23 budget. Find all Reps and Senators here or call Tuesday-Friday during business hours and leave a message for your legislators with the Sergeant at Arms – 802-828-2228.

Click here for an in-depth overview of the level of investment in climate, as it currently stands, largely via the FY 23 Budget.

Thanks for ALL you do and will continue to do as the Legislature’s work ramps in the waning weeks of the 2022 session – and we work to cement the strongest suite of climate policies and investments!

P.S. Join us on Wednesday, March 30th at noon for an update with VNRC and VCV policy experts on where key environmental bills stand now that we’re through the mid-point of the 2022 legislative session. We will provide an inside scoop on what’s happening with priority bills, and there will be an opportunity for Q&A. Register for the webinar here


March 18, 2022: Mid-Session Update on Climate Priorities

Today’s Episode

This has been a huge, busy week for climate progress in the Legislature! Whew! In this week’s Climate Dispatch, VNRC’s Johanna Miller and VCV’s Lauren Hierl are joined by Ben Edgerly Walsh, Climate & Energy Program Director at Vermont Public Interest Research Group, for a brief, mid-session update on many exciting priorities – as well as opportunities in the weeks ahead to strengthen and ensure equitable, significant, and pollution-reduction progress. It’s been a tremendously busy week for lawmakers especially, as today marks the crossover deadline for money or policy bills with attached funding components to move into the next Chamber. And there’s been a ton of movement, with last-minute progress likely even later today. Check out the Dispatch for a deeper dive, but here’s the gist: 

We will let you know where the budget bill lands in next week’s Climate Dispatch – and give you an update on these and other key bills too – when we are joined next week by Climate Solutions Caucus Co-Chairs, Senator Chris Pearson and Representative Sarah Copeland Hanzas – for an even deeper dive on climate progress. Be sure to stay tuned for that, but in the meantime…

Call to Action

Now is a great time to reach out and thank your Representatives for all of the hard work they’ve done and will do to prioritize climate progress so far this session! Reach out to Speaker Jill Krowinski, and those in the House Transportation, the House Energy & Technology, and the House Appropriations committees in particular and thank them for supporting climate action.

There is much to celebrate this week and still much more work to do in the weeks ahead! 


March 11, 2022:  The Opportunity in a Clean Heat Standard

Today’s Episode

You don’t want to miss today’s Climate Dispatch! Representative Tim Briglin, Chair of the House Energy & Technology Committee, joins VNRC’s Johanna Miller and VCV’s Lauren Hierl for an overview of H.715, An Act Relating to the Clean Heat Standard.

The Vermont House is poised for a vote, as soon as next week! on the Clean Heat Standard – the single largest pollution-reduction plank of the Climate Action Plan. This is the most significant piece of climate legislation under consideration in the Vermont Legislature this year and, if designed well, will put Vermont on a course to reduce planet-warming pollution in the state’s 2nd most carbon intensive sector and help Vermonters access more cost-effective, climate-accountable, local heating solutions.

Tune into today’s episode of the Climate Dispatch here. 

If executed well, the Clean Heat Standard could be one of the most transformative climate and clean energy policies the state has ever enacted, which is why as the bill moves through the Legislature, we will continue to work to strengthen it and measure its success and effectiveness on three fundamental principles, including:

  1. A requirement that fossil fuel companies cut climate pollution in the heating sector in line with Vermont’s legal emissions reduction requirements, as outlined in the Global Warming Solutions Act. 
  2. Achieving emissions reductions using a transparent, lifecycle approach; taking into account the full emissions created with options like biofuel. 
  3. Centering equity and requiring that a significant portion of clean heat benefits go to low- and moderate-income Vermonters, and those who have disproportionately borne the high cost of polluting fossil fuels. 

Call to Action

As the Clean Heat Standard heads to the House floor soon, now is the moment to reach out to your Representatives! Let them know you support bold climate action and you want them to advance H.715. It’s critical that we push for a strong vote in the House to show that we are able and willing to take the hard actions on climate that we need to be taking, and that are laid out in our Climate Action Plan.

We will continue to keep you updated on the progress of this bill and many others as the session progresses, so stay tuned for more soon!

P.S. We worked with some of our key partners to share more thoughts on this policy – at this challenging moment for so many Vermonters and people across the planet. Check out the op-ed we recently penned for more insight on why we believe this is so important.


March 4, 2022: Live from the Statehouse with the #ActonClimateVT Coalition

Today’s Episode

In today’s LIVE edition of the Climate Dispatch, VNRC’s Johanna Miller and VCV’s Lauren Hierl are joined on the steps of the Vermont Statehouse by representatives from several #ActOnClimateVT partner organizations. 

Check out the Dispatch here for a round of quick updates on several 2022 must-pass climate priorities, directly from some of the advocates that have been working hard to make major strides on climate this legislative session. 

These climate priorities are all outlined, amongst others, in the Climate Action section of VCV’s Common Agenda and are concrete steps Vermont can take to accomplish it’s pollution reduction requirements and create a more just and affordable clean energy economy. Hear updates on long-overdue, historic climate commitments in the budget, a strong Environmental Justice Bill, the Transportation Innovation Act, a well-crafted Clean Heat Standard, the Municipal Energy Resilience Initiatives bill, grid modernization, and workforce development to support the clean energy economy. 

Call to Action

Legislators are currently taking a well-deserved break for Town Meeting week. When the legislature resumes next week, it will be more important than ever to stay engaged and hold your representatives accountable to the climate progress Vermonters want to see – and that our State is required to make. If you haven’t already, reach out to your representatives to thank them for their work thus far this session and encourage them to stay committed to climate action progress as their work continues on. 

Stay tuned for more updates on all of the key climate legislation this session and for additional opportunities to plug into this work and help move Vermont towards a clean, equitable, and affordable climate future! 

February 25, 2022: S.148, An Act Relating to Environmental Justice in Vermont

Today’s Episode

In today’s Climate Dispatch, VNRC’s Johanna Miller and VCV’s Shelden Goodwin are joined by Senator Kesha Ram Hinsdale and Conservation Law Foundation’s Elena Mihaly to overview and celebrate a major milestone – Vermont moving ahead with enacting a statewide environmental justice policy. 

Today, on a 5-0-0 bipartisan vote, the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee advanced S.148 – An Act Relating to Environmental Justice in Vermont! 

Don’t miss this important Climate Dispatch for an update from two of the people who have been working hardest to make this moment happen, Senator Ram Hinsdale in particular. For 15 years, Senator Ram Hinsdale has been working to ensure the State of Vermont enshrines its commitment to environmental justice in law so that all Vermonters can access and enjoy clean, affordable energy, clean air and water, 21st century transportation options, the woods, waters, and mountains of Vermont and much more. 

This is an incredibly important and exciting milestone to mark! There is also much more work to do to move S.148 through the full Legislature and, critically, ensure it receives the funding it needs to successfully stand up and implement the policy. 

“Passing an Environmental Justice policy framework out of Senate Natural Resources unanimously today is a milestone decades in the making. So many people who consider themselves stewards and caretakers of the land and their communities have felt left out of the environmental movement. This brings us one step closer to finding the light at the crossroads between the environmental and social justice movements, particularly in a rural state like ours. Onward!”  – Senator Kesha Ram Hinsdale

Call to Action

Please call or email your Senators! If your Senator sits on the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee (below), please thank them for their vote on this important bill. If your Senator has not yet voted on S.148, please reach out and ask their support of the bill and, importantly, the funding it needs to succeed. Find your Senator – and their contact info – here.

Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee Members: 

There are so many environmental justice champions who made this moment happen. We thank them all! And, we look forward to working with those leaders, with you and with as many Vermonters as possible to stand up S.148 successfully and, also, ensure that other essential and ensuing programs, policies and processes center equity and justice. 

On the climate progress front, we are also excited to relay that the House Energy and Technology Committee voted yesterday (7-2) to advance a Clean Heat Standard. VNRC and VCV support a well-designed Clean Heat Standard as a potentially transformative mechanism to, finally and with certainty, annually ratchet down climate-warming pollution from heating our homes and buildings. Thank members of the House Energy and Technology Committee for their hard work on the Clean Heat Standard. And, while lawmakers are home next week for the Town Meeting Day break (ideally taking some time to decompress from their hard work as citizen legislators!) thank them for their strong commitment to equity-enhancing, job-creating, money-saving climate action!

From all of us at VNRC and VCV, our sincere thanks to Senator Ram Hinsdale, Elena Mihaly and so many other EJ leaders who made this important milestone on S.148 possible. And to Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee members, House Energy and Technology Committee members, and all climate-committed legislators who understand the need for long-overdue climate progress.


February 18, 2022: Legislative Climate Update & GlobalFoundries Ruling

Today’s Episode

In today’s Climate Dispatch, VNRC’s Johanna Miller and VCV’s Lauren Hierl are joined by Ben Edgerly Walsh, VPIRG’s Climate and Energy Program Director, and Chase Whiting, Staff Attorney at Conservation Law Foundation (CLF). Don’t miss this up-to-the-moment legislative recap on clean energy and climate priorities, as well as an update on the breaking news related to the Public Utility Commission’s ruling against GlobalFoundries’ request to skirt the renewable energy standard. 

In this week’s Dispatch, hear the very latest recap on the FY 23 Budget negotiations – which must prioritize significant investments in climate! – as well four other priority bills, including: 

As you may know, VNRC and many partners co-hosted a mid session legislative update early this week on climate progress to date. You can go even deeper on these priorities by checking out that webinar here. In the meantime, be sure to watch this week’s Dispatch for the hot-off-the-presses update from CLF’s Chase Whiting regarding the Public Utilities Commission rejection of GlobalFoundries’ petition to get special permission to skirt the renewable energy standard, energy efficiency requirements, and the Global Warming Solutions Act. CLF was among the petitioners and Vermonters raising significant concerns – successfully! – that such a move would’ve significantly set us back in our efforts to prevent climate change. 

Call to Action

Victories like this – and essential, equitable climate progress – are largely premised on strong legislation that enforces the necessary steps we must take if we’re going to meet the emissions reductions targets outlined in the Global Warming Solutions Act. As the legislative session carries on, it is more important than ever to stay informed about how various climate action legislation is taking shape and to engage with your representatives. Please reach out and urge your representatives to make a significant commitment to climate in the FY 23 budget, in line with what’s needed to achieve the targets of the Global Warming Solutions Act. 

Finally, please save the date for a special LIVE edition of the Climate Dispatch on Friday, March 4th at noon from the Statehouse in Montpelier! More details to come.


February 11, 2022: Clean Heat Standard

Today’s Episode

In today’s Climate Dispatch, VNRC’s Johanna Miller and VCV’s Lauren Hierl are joined by Ben Edgerly Walsh, VPIRG’s Climate and Energy Program Director, to highlight the Clean Heat Standard – a potentially powerful, transformative policy to begin to ratchet down the climate pollution coming primarily from the way we heat our homes and buildings in Vermont. This policy was identified by the Vermont Climate Council – and is now the single largest pollution-reduction prong of the adopted Climate Action Plan.

The Legislature – and the House Energy & Technology Committee in particular – is now taking a close look at how to shape and advance this recommendation, with the goal of achieving the obligations of the Global Warming Solutions Act and, more so, helping Vermonters reduce their home heating costs and cut carbon through accessing more efficient, clean heating solutions. 

This policy has the potential to deliver real benefits to Vermont and Vermonters – but it is essential to ensure it is crafted well. The current draft is getting close but any final bill must: 

Call to Action

This is a significant, much-needed and long overdue lift! If your Representative is on the House Energy & Technology Committee, please reach out and thank them for their hard work on this bill and their commitment to getting it done – and done well. 

If your representative is not on House Energy & Technology, please reach out to them and urge them to support a strong clean heat standard that climate accountable and equitable. 

Thanks for all you do – and we will be sure to keep you posted on this and far more! 


February 4, 2022: The Municipal Energy Resilience Initiatives Bill

Today’s episode

In this week’s Climate Dispatch, Representative Laura Sibilia – Vice Chair of the House Energy & Technology Committee – joins VNRC’s Johanna Miller and VCV’s Lauren Hierl to provide a deep-dive overview of H.518: The Municipal Energy Resilience Initiatives bill. This bill focuses on supporting municipal energy-saving and fossil-fuel reduction strategies. As the bill continues to evolve, it is also broadening its focus to include more municipal resilience investments and opportunities.

As you’ll hear from Rep. Sibilia, H.518 is focused on three fundamental things 1) increasing people-powered capacity and technical assistance to communities, 2) supporting assessments in communities to identify priority pollution-reduction and resilience projects, and 3) providing essential grant support to communities to actually make projects happen. 

At the core of H.518 is the clear recognition of the important role communities play in Vermont’s energy transition while also recognizing the essential need to support all communities with the capacity, technical assistance and funding to undertake priority projects. 

H.518 is also a cornerstone priority of the environmental community’s 2022 Common Agenda – and a must-pass bill this session. Follow the February 4th, House Energy Committee hearing on this bill to get an even deeper overview. 


January 28, 2022: Common Agenda

Today’s episode

In this week’s Climate Dispatch, Representative Gabrielle Stebbins (D-Burlington), joins VNRC’s Johanna Miller and VCV’s Lauren Hierl. Rep. Stebbins serves on the House Transportation Committee and, we are happy to announce, the recipient of the Vermont Conservation Voters 2022 Legislative Leadership Award for her strong commitment to a clean energy economy, broad climate action and a healthy environment for every Vermonter. 

In this Dispatch, get an update on several important climate priorities that key legislative bodies are exploring – deep climate commitments in the budget, a strong Environmental Justice Bill, the Transportation Innovation Act, a well-crafted Clean Heat Standard and more. These and other priorities are centerpieces of VCV’s – and the broader environmental community’s – annual Common Agenda.

We look forward to keeping you posted as these and other important priorities advance this session. And please stay tuned for future action opportunities, as we work to ensure that Vermont takes significant steps forward this session on long-overdue, equitable climate action. 

Thanks for ALL you do!


January 21, 2022: Environmental Justice Bill (S.148)

Today’s episode

In today’s Climate Dispatch, VNRC’s Energy and Climate Program Director Johanna Miller is joined by Sebbi Wu, VPIRG’s Climate and Equity Advocate, and Ben Edgerly Walsh, VPIRG’s Climate & Energy Program Director to highlight the recently introduced, must-pass environmental justice (EJ) bill – S.148

Today, in Senate Natural Resources and Energy, this bill got its first, substantive airing with testimony delivered by EJ leaders from across Vermont who helped craft this long-overdue policy. (Check out today’s powerful testimony in two parts: here and here.)

In the Dispatch, Sebbi gives an overview of the key principles required for a strong EJ bill, including the importance of a mapping tool, sufficient funding, an advisory with actual authority and, fundamentally, a strong definition of an environmental justice population in statute. And more. Hear more about why this matter so much, what a strong bill must include and what you can do to support it – including sending a quick email to your state senators asking for their support of a strong S.148/environmental justice policy. 

This bill is a priority for VNRC, Vermont Conservation Voters and a broad coalition of organizations; and its passage this year essential – as outlined in this more in-depth overview by Sebbi Wu. As we work to make this bill a reality this year, we know far more equity and justice work will be required in the months and years ahead to implement and expand the clean energy and pollution-reducing programs so essential to abating the intensifying climate crisis. 

Thanks for all you do!  


January 14, 2022: Climate Solutions Caucus

Today’s episode

In this week’s Climate Dispatch, Senator Chris Pearson joins VNRC’s Johanna Miller and VCV’s Lauren Hierl to outline the 2022 legislative priorities of the Climate Solutions Caucus, which met for the first time this week, and will continue to meet every other week throughout the legislative session.

Senator Pearson shares an overview of the Climate Solutions Caucus, including significant investments in programs to help Vermonters weatherize their homes, transition to clean heating options, invest in clean, efficient transportation solutions and access renewable energy. He the group’s plans for this legislative session, major climate-related priorities, and how we all can help support this critical work in the legislature.

Call to action

Follow the Climate Solutions Caucus’ work at https://vtclimatecaucus.org/ and follow their meetings at the CSC YouTube Channel. The next meeting will be at noon on Thursday, January 27th.

We also heard from Senator Pearson how they are tackling many competing crises right now. Please consider taking a moment to contact your legislators to thank them for all they do, remind them how important climate action is to you, and ask them to ensure it is one of this year’s priorities!


January 7, 2022: Rep. Becca White Discusses the Transportation Innovation Act, H.552

In this week’s Climate Dispatch – our first of the 2022 legislative session! – Representative Becca White joins VNRC’s Johanna Miller and VCV’s Lauren Hierl to outline the just-introduced “Transportation Innovation Act.” Rep. White provides an important, high-level frame around the vehicle electrification, high efficiency vehicle, transit, micro-mobility and other transportation innovation and equity programs in H.522. As you’ll hear, this bill is a fundamental step forward to make progress on the requirements of the Climate Action Plan and key climate priorities for the 2022 legislative session.

Call to action

To start of 2022, we have two calls to action:

  1. If your representative is a sponsor of the Transportation Innovation Act, please send a quick email to thank them for their support. Find the list of bill sponsors here and find your representative’s contact information here.
  2. To help ensure action on these critical issues—and to help grow our network of engaged Vermonters—please invite at least two of your friends, family, or colleagues to sign up for the Dispatch by registering here.

Thanks for all you do!


December 17, 2021: Welcome Greta!

In our last Climate Dispatch of 2021, VNRC’s Johanna Miller and VCV’s Lauren Hierl provide a high-level look back at climate progress over the past year and a sneak peek at what to expect in the 2022 legislative session and in the ongoing work of the Vermont Climate Council. We’d also like to introduce VNRC’s new Energy & Climate Program Associate, Greta Hasler! Greta joins VNRC at a critical time in the state’s essential just energy transition, bringing a breadth of experience to the role. Learn more about and “meet” Greta in this week’s Dispatch!

Hear how we can all work together to ensure that we accelerate long-overdue climate progress in 2022, and make the best use of significant, strategic investments of unprecedented federal funding and an ambitious legislative climate agenda. Tune in today and join us each week in the New Year for a regular Climate Dispatch, highlighting what’s happening in the legislative and Climate Council arenas – and what you can do to help make much needed progress.

Till then, THANK YOU for all you do to ensure just climate action at the scale and pace this moment requires. We send our very best to you and yours for a healthy, happy and festive holiday season, and we look forward to reconnecting in 2022!


December 10, 2021: Vermont’s Climate Action Plan is Here!

Johanna Miller (VNRC) and Lauren Hierl (VCV) are joined by Jane Lazorchak (Director of the Global Warming Solutions Act) and Ben Edgerly Walsh (VPIRG). They discuss the recently passed initial Climate Action Plan created by the Vermont Climate Council, and what’s to come.


November 5, 2021: Climate Dispatch

It’s an exciting yet tenuous moment. In this week’s Climate Dispatch, VNRC’s Johanna Miller and VCV’s Lauren Hierl go deeper into all these important happenings, what they could mean, and what you might do to help ensure we seize this moment in Vermont in particular. We also explain the five fundamental components several leading environmental and business groups are urging are included in any successful initial plan.

Those include:

Read the full letter VNRC, VCV and partners submitted here.

Call to action

Most importantly: Make your voice heard! Write an op-ed or letter to the editor about the priorities you’d like to see in the Climate Action Plan and, imortantly, why this matters so much. Share that piece – or simply share your thoughts – with members of the Vermont Climate Council and your state legislators.

We must ensure that the initial Climate Action Plan is a strong step forward – and then stand ready to further refine the priorities, policies and processes to do this work


September 17, 2021: Climate Council Public Forums

It’s crunch time for climate action in Vermont! In this week’s Climate Dispatch, VNRC’s Johanna Miller and VCV’s Lauren Hierl are joined by Energy Action Network Director and Vermont Climate Council member, Jared Duval.

In this Dispatch, get a quick update on all that’s happening with the Vermont Climate Council, a highlight of some of the big ideas on the table—including Weatherization at Scale, a Clean Heat Standard, the Transportation & Climate Initiative, and more.

Call to Action

We urge you to attend one of the critically important public forums coming up, starting next week, to provide input on what’s in the plan. Find all the essential information and RSVP for those events here and read through the key, high-level elements VNRC sees as critical to this initial plan here.

Finally, for deeper grounding, check out the Energy Action Network’s annual progress report that highlights the potential pathways for Vermont to meet the 2025 and 2030 Global Warming Solutions Act requirements in a cost-effective, equitable, job-creating manner.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to show up and speak up at one (or more!) of the upcoming in-person or virtual public forums. Again, find all the essential info here.


July 23, 2021: Climate Council updates & infrastructure package

It’s been a while! In this week’s Climate Dispatch, VNRC’s Johanna Miller and VCV’s Lauren Hierl provide a high-level overview of what’s happening with the Vermont Climate Council, a quick look forward to the 2022 legislative session, and a peek into a federal infrastructure, jobs, and climate package that will have big implications for Vermont. At its monthly meeting on Monday, July 26th, the Council will hear—for the first time—initial recommendations from the three policy subcommittees on pathways and strategies to consider incorporating into the required Climate Action Plan. This meeting will help set the frame for a deeper conversation — and action — to advance the type and scale of strategies required.

Call to Action

Find the Council’s full agenda here and join in on Monday if you can! The public are welcome to attend.

An important complement to this state-led effort is the work happening in Washington to advance an infrastructure bill that also invests in clean energy, jobs, and justice. Vermont’s Congressional Delegation, including Senator Bernie Sanders, as chairman of the budget committee, are pressing hard for ensuring a focus on equitable climate action in this package.

Click here to tell your elected officials that an infrastructure package MUST include investments tackling climate change.


May 28, 2021: Session wrap-up

We’re one week out from the adjournment of the 2021 legislative session. This year, policy makers made unprecedented investments in climate action—and so much more! Today we’re joined by VPIRG’s Climate and Energy Program Ben Edgerly Walsh for an interview about some of these gains.

We discuss the $50+ direct appropriations in weatherization, affordable community-scale renewable energy, transportation, and essential capacity-enhancing services at critical partner organizations, like community action agencies and regional planning commissions. Plus, we talk about the historic commitment to implementing the Climate Action Plan coming out of the Global Warming Solutions Act.

Learn more from VNRC and VCV about other significant state commitments to affordable housing, broadband, clean water, and more. Vermont also made important new commitments to building a 21st-century clean, affordable transportation system in the Transportation Bill (T-Bill). Find out more details here. 

Call to action

Please call or email your Senators and Representative(s) today and ask them to support a $200 million commitment to climate action in the budget. Both the House and Senate-passed versions of the budget included expanded investments in weatherization, low-income renewable energy projects and more. And the Senate-passed version included $100 million for implementation of the ensuing Climate Action Plan, as required by the Global Warming Solutions Act.

This influx of federal dollars presents a tremendous opportunity that Vermont must not pass up to invest in job creating, health-improving, equity-enhancing climate solutions!


May 21, 2021: Rebecca Ramos and the state budget

Today we are joined by Rebecca Ramos from the Necrason Group, who has been following the ins and outs of the budget process all year. As the Legislature wraps the FY 2022 budget, which includes an unprecedented $250 million investment in climate solutions over the next three years, it’s time to celebrate and highlight this historic commitment to climate action!

The investments include $50 million in direct appropriations for weatherization programs, low-income renewable energy initiatives and other strategies to support people and communities access clean energy and efficiency opportunities. The Legislature also committed $200 million in funding to implement the Climate Action Plan being developed right now by the state’s Climate Council.

This unprecedented level of funding will be essential in jumpstarting the transformation to a clean, more equitable energy economy, as we continue to work to identify and implement long-term funding solutions.

The transportation bill (T-Bill) also passed this week. The final version includes increased funding for clean vehicle incentives, EV charging stations, fare-free public transit, and more. 

Call to action

Please take a moment to send a note of thanks to your Representative(s) and Senator(s) for making this significant investment in climate action in the state budget! Thank you for all you do.


May 14, 2021: Climate Council & Legislative Updates

In this week’s Climate Dispatch we give an update on a few timely conversations and actions happening related to climate — the Climate Council, the state budget, and the Transportation Bill (T-Bill). The Climate Council’s work continues in earnest, largely through the leadership and efforts underway in the five subcommittees.

This week, the subcommittees have been meeting with the newly hired public engagement team which is mapping out a plan to hear from Vermonters — including many Vermonters who have too often not been at the table in these conversations — to begin to understand their climate impacts, concerns priorities, and the opportunities they see to do our part to reduce planet-warming pollution, while also ensuring a cost-effective, equitable, resilience-building transition. 

Call to action

Connected to but beyond the work of the Climate Council is the final push to wrap the FY 2022 state budget. This week, the Legislature’s Appropriations Committees — in a committee of conference — have been putting their final touches on finalizing a budget that the full Legislature will vote on next week. This is a critical moment.

Help ensure that Vermont makes the critical job-creating, equity enhancing investments in strategic climate programs by appropriating at least $200 million of American Rescue Plan Act dollars in the FY 2022 budget. Call or email your Representative(s) and Senator(s) today and ask for their support of a $200 million investment in climate action.


May 7, 2021: Rep. Selene Colburn

In this week’s Climate Dispatch, we are joined by Rep. Selene Colburn, the leader of the House Progressive Caucus and a member of the legislature’s Climate Solutions Caucus leadership team.

Rep. Colburn shares her view on the importance of – and strategic moment for – a significant investment in climate action in the FY 2022 budget, bolstered by the over $1 billion in federal American Rescue Plan dollars.

The House and Senate Appropriations Conference Committee’s work is now underway, aimed at soon finalizing and voting upon next year’s budget. It’s our hope that the Legislature makes a serious commitment to climate; on par with the scale of the need – and the opportunity.

Call to action

Please call or email your Senators and Representative(s) today and ask them to support a $200 million commitment to climate action in the budget. Both the House and Senate-passed versions of the budget included expanded investments in weatherization, low-income renewable energy projects and more. And the Senate-passed version included $100 million for implementation of the ensuing Climate Action Plan, as required by the Global Warming Solutions Act.

This influx of federal dollars presents a tremendous opportunity that Vermont must not pass up to invest in job creating, health-improving, equity-enhancing climate solutions!

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