Today, the Vermont Conservation Voters (VCV) Board of Directors announced its endorsement of Christine Hallquist for Governor, following a candidate interview and detailed review of Hallquist’s positions on VCV’s priority environmental issues.
Governor Phil Scott did not participate in VCV’s 2018 candidate interview process, despite being invited. However, his long record on environmental issues as an elected official served as a reliable comparison to Hallquist’s positions.
Hallquist’s platform acknowledges that Vermont’s economic prosperity is tied to its environmental health – from clean water to the climate economy to spurring rural economic development by building on our strengths, such as the recreation economy. She recognizes that to thrive, we need to invest in our assets, such as clean water, rather than taking the short-sighted approach of saving a few pennies now, which can delay progress and result in higher costs down the road.
Hallquist has made a clear commitment to clean water for all Vermonters, including supporting long-term funding for clean water of at least $25 million per year, as recommended by State Treasurer Beth Pearce. While Scott was able to piece together additional clean water funding over the past two years, much of it was through bonding, meaning we’ll need to pay it back with interest, passing costs on to future generations. He has not put forward a plan for a long-term sustainable investment in safe, clean water for all Vermonters, as required by law.
“Scott recently announced that he has a clean water plan that he won’t make public until after the election,” said Lauren Hierl, executive director of Vermont Conservation Voters. “This is unacceptable. Clean water funding runs out in the coming year, and we need to be working together, now, to develop a solution that will work for Vermont – there is no time to waste.”
In 2017-2018, Governor Scott threatened to veto, and vetoed, an unprecedented number of environmental bills. For example, Scott vetoed legislation that would have made it easier to protect children from toxic chemicals, and vetoed a bill that would have made corporate polluters pay for medical monitoring costs resulting from toxic contamination, rather than forcing victims or taxpayers to foot the bill. Hallquist has made clear that, if elected, she would sign both of these bills.
Hallquist has highlighted her commitment to meaningful progress on climate change, and is committed to helping Vermont reach the broadly supported commitment of 90% renewable energy by 2050. Governor Scott created the Climate Action Commission in 2017, but since then, has rejected numerous policy recommendations from his own hand-picked group. He has failed to put forth a proactive climate plan that would put us on track to meet our climate commitments, even as we see statewide climate pollution rising in recent years.
Scott has opposed even studying the pros and cons of economy-wide policies like cap and trade or carbon pricing to help Vermonters save money, become more energy independent, and transition off fossil fuels. Further, for the first time since the state started collecting the data, Vermont’s clean energy sector lost jobs. This is indicative of Scott administration policies that are making it harder to develop renewable energy.
“In contrast to Scott, Hallquist brings an understanding of the science and urgency of acting on climate change,” said Hierl. “She has made clear that she will actively explore which policies will work for Vermont to achieve our climate goals, while also growing our economy, and protecting the most vulnerable among us.”
“We need a leader who will support policies that help Vermont’s communities, families, and environment thrive – today, tomorrow and into the future – and that’s why Vermont Conservation Voters has endorsed Christine Hallquist for Governor,” added Hierl.
Learn more about Vermont Conservation Voters at http://vermontconservationvoters.com.