Editor’s note: The following is by Matt Cota, executive director of the Vermont Fuel Dealers.
A 23-member Vermont “Climate Council” has been appointed (see members below) and will begin working on a “Climate Action Plan.” This plan must be finalized on or before December 1, 2021. After the plan is adopted, the Agency of Natural Resources will have six months to come up with a regulatory structure to enact the plan. The rules will then go into effect no later than December 1, 2022. If that doesn’t happen, the state of Vermont can and will be sued by environmental attorneys.
We don’t know what regulations will be proposed at this time. The Climate Council has the power to enact restrictions on the combustion of fossil fuels or the equipment and engines that depend on them. Under the GWSA, the state of Vermont must show a significant drop in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2025. If emissions do not decline by at least 26%, anyone could sue the state. It doesn’t stop there. Vermont will have to show a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. And then 80% fewer emissions by 2050. If it doesn’t happen, the state of Vermont can and will be sued by environmental attorneys.
This emission reduction mandate aligns with the state’s decade old energy policy to virtually eliminate all petroleum in Vermont.
There are more questions than solutions at this point. How can an unelected “climate council” enact restrictions on the combustion of fossil fuels? And without a ban, how will the 2025 mandate be met?
More than 50,000 homeowners will have to voluntarily turn off their oil or gas heating equipment and more 130,000 gasoline powered cars would need to stay parked to reduce consumption by 26% over the next four years.
Who are the 23 members of the Vermont Climate Council?
The Speaker of the House, Rep. Mitzi Johnson, chose 8 members of the Council:
- Catherine Dimitruk, Fairfax, Northwest Regional Planning Commission
- Chris Campany, Newfane, Windham Regional Commission
- Liz Miller, Burlington, Green Mountain Power
- Johannah Miller, Montpelier, lobbyist for the Vermont Natural Resources Council
- Michael Schmell, South Pomfret, Chief Operating Officer for Stone Road Energy
- Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux, South Burlington, Vermont State Climatologist
- Adam Knudsen, Shelburne, Dynapower
- Richard Cowart, Calais, Regulatory Assistance Project
Senate leaders chose 7 members of the Council:
- Kelly Klein, Greenbell Meadery, St. Albans
- Chad Farrell, Encore Renewables
- Sue Minter, Capstone
- Abby Corse, farmer, Windham County
- Lauren Oates, The Nature Conservancy
- Sarah Evans, youth member from Stowe
- Jared Duval, Energy Action Network
The Climate Council also includes 8 members of the Governor’s cabinet:
- Susanne Young, Secretary of Administration
- Julie Moore, Secretary of Natural Resources
- Anson Tebbetts, Secretary of Agriculture
- Lindsay Kurrle, Secretary of Commerce
- Michael Smith, Secretary of Human Services
- Joe Flynn, Secretary of Transportation
- Michael Schirling, Commissioner of Public Safety
- June Tierney, Commissioner of Public Service