Business Group Honors Washington County Legislators for Climate Action Work
Burlington, VT – Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) honored two dozen Vermont House legislators Wednesday morning as ‘Climate Champions’ for their efforts to grow the economy and create green jobs by putting a price on carbon pollution.
“Vermont spends nearly $2 billion each year on fossil fuels and most of that money leaves our local economy and goes right out of the state,” said Jane Campbell, VBSR’s executive director. “VBSR is delighted to honor these legislators for recognizing that keeping more of our energy spending here in Vermont is a major economic development opportunity.”
Award-winners from Washington County include Rep. Mary Hooper of Montpelier, Rep. Tom Stevens of Waterbury, Rep. Maxine Grad of Moretown, and Rep. Warren Kitzmiller of Montpelier.
“I thank VBSR for taking a leadership role in fighting the effects of climate change. The pollution from burning oil, gas and coal is threatening our children, pocketbooks and communities. Vermonters cannot stand by and watch this happen. Instead of sending more than $2 billion to out-of-state oil companies, we can invest in Vermont. We can keep this money in Vermonters’ pocketbooks by investing in local renewable energy. Instead of increasing oil company profits we can create Vermont jobs and lower Vermont electric rates. VBSR knows we can strengthen our economy and our communities by investing in ourselves.”
“Understanding and discussing the real possibilities of shifting the tax burden and cleaning our environment are worthy of support. I’m happy to join my peers in sponsoring this bill, and to participate in the larger conversation.”
“I am honored to given this award. Climate change threatens our very life in myriad ways and if we are to survive as a species we simply must make greater efforts to reduce our wasteful ways. I wish I had more confidence that we all, as a society, had the willpower to do what surely must be done, but we must fight the good fight, regardless.”
Recognizing that market forces can be an effective tool in moving the economy to cleaner technologies, VBSR has called for pricing carbon pollution for more than two decades. VBSR business members recently collaborated with members of the social services community to draft the ESSEX Plan, which phases in a carbon price over eight years and use the proceeds to reduce the cost of electricity in Vermont.
“Vermonters know that we must act now to reduce dangerous carbon pollution or it will it lead to irreversible impacts for our economy, our health and our food and water supplies,” said Jen Kimmich, co-owner of The Alchemist in Stowe. “We have set ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, but over the past five years these emissions have increased. It is time for us to take this positive action, which will increase Vermont’s prosperity as it helps us improve the environmental, business and human health of our state.”
VBSR traditionally gives a Legislator of the Year award, but this year opted to give the special Climate Champion award to Vermont legislators. VBSR Public Policy Manager Daniel Barlow said that President Trump’s decision this year to exit the Paris Climate Agreement sparked serious concerns in the business community and has spurred renewed attention to the important issue of fighting climate change.
“We can’t rely on Washington, D.C. to take action on climate change,” Barlow said. “Vermont can show the rest of the country that moving off of fossil fuels grows the economy and creates new jobs. We thought it was important to recognize these forward-looking Vermont legislators who support putting a price on carbon pollution.”
VBSR presented the awards December 6 at the organization’s annual Legislative Breakfast in Burlington. The business group also unveiled it’s 2018 legislative agenda, which includes putting a price on carbon pollution, reforming the state’s broken health care system, and changing the state’s independent contractor regulations.
The group also honored Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce with a ‘Public Servant of the Year’ award for her work in creating a public retirement system, clean up Vermont’s lakes and rivers, and address climate change through state investments.
VBSR is a statewide, non-profit business association with a mission to advance a business ethic that values people and planet as much as profit. Through economic development, education, public influence, and networking, VBSR strives to help 700+ members set a high standard for protecting the natural, human, and economic environments of the state’s residents, while remaining profitable. Learn more or join the cause at www.vbsr.org.