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2022 Legislative Session Wrap-Up

by | May 17, 2022

Historic Budget Allocation for Climate-Related Spending H.740

Utilizing the once in a generation windfall of money from the federal government, almost $200 million was allocated in the FY22/23 budget for climate-related spending initiatives including:

  • EV infrastructure and vehicle purchasing incentives 
  • Weatherization for low and middle income Vermonters
  • Grants for municipalities to switch to energy efficient heating and cooling systems
  • Assistance for low and middle income Vermonters who need electrical system upgrades to allow for electrification 

REV worked throughout the legislative session in coalition with VPIRG, the Vermont Chapter of the Sierra Club, VNRC, Conservation Law Foundation and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility to ensure that the many funding priorities for climate change mitigation programs were adequately funded. 

Click here to read REV’s testimony submitted to the House Transportation Committee in support of adequately funding initiatives to speed the electrification of Vermont’s transportation sector.

Click here to read a REV blog post with more details on the historic spending on these climate-related programs. 

This bill passed both the House and Senate and is awaiting a decision by Governor Scott. 

Environmental Justice S.148

Vermont is one of the few remaining states in the nation without an environmental justice policy. Click here to read REV’s statement on why this bill was a must pass for this legislative session.

REV testified in support of this bill in both the Senate Natural Resources Committee and House Natural Resources Committee and played an integral role in getting an adequately-funded version of the bill passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

S.148 passed both the House and Senate and is awaiting a decision by Governor Scott. 

Clean Heat Standard H.715

This bill proposed to create a Clean Heat Standard, a RES-like credit trading system governing all fuels used for the thermal sector to incentivize the switch away from fossil fuels used for heating and cooling homes and businesses. Because members of REV’s Legislative Policy Committee raised numerous concerns about loopholes written into the bill that might end up preventing the switch from fossil fuels to renewables, REV did not play an active role in the legislative debate on the bill.

H.715 was vetoed by Governor Scott and the veto was sustained by the Legislature.

Municipal Buildings Efficiency H.518

This bill expands the State’s Municipal Energy Management Plan to include technical assistance and financing for municipal buildings to rural communities working on energy resiliency including reducing fossil fuel use, battery storage, solar siting and weatherization. In addition, it creates a grant program for converting municipal buildings to renewables and for weatherization. 

Prior to the session, REV worked with the bill sponsor, Rep Laura Sibilia and Norm Etkind and Education Secretary Dan French about including wood heat in schools in the bill’s scope but was unsuccessful in getting language added to the legislation. 

H.518 passed both the House and Senate and is awaiting a decision by Governor Scott. 

City of Burlington Charter Change H.448

This bill is to codify the charter change overwhelmingly approved by the voters in the City of Burlington on Town Meeting Day 2021 to give the City the authority to assess a fee to incentivize fossil fuel free heating and thermal systems in the construction of new buildings.

REV Executive Director Peter Sterling testified in support of this charter change in front of both the House and Senate Government Operations Committees. Click here to read his testimony.

H.448 has been signed into law by Governor Scott.

100% Tier 1 by 2030 S.232

REV played an integral behind the scenes role in making sure this bill never came up for discussion in Senate Natural Resources. S.232 would have further “greenwashed” Vermont’s electricity portfolio and failed to include any new additional Tier 2 renewable energy purchasing requirements to get to 100% Tier 1 by 2030. 

2022 Comprehensive Energy Plan

While not related to pending legislation, REV also delivered testimony to the Senate Natural Resources Committee on the many shortcomings of the Department of Public Service’s updated Comprehensive Energy Plan.

Among other things, REV’s testimony stated that, “The State’s Comprehensive Energy Plan glosses over the fact that, according to the annual VT Clean Energy Jobs Report, employment in the clean energy industry has decreased by 1,579 jobs since the industry’s high watermark in 2017 when 19,081 Vermonters were employed across the sector despite the ever-increasing need for Vermont to transition faster off of fossil fuels to avert the climate crisis.” 

Read REV’s full testimony critiquing the Comprehensive Energy Plan here.

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