Business Group Honors Windham 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 Windham County include Rep. Mollie Burke of Brattleboro, Rep. David Deen of Putney, Rep. Michael Mrowicki of Putney, and Rep. Valerie Stuart of Brattleboro.
Rep. Mollie Burke:
“I am honored to receive this award, and I am grateful that VBSR and many others in the business community recognize the threat that climate change poses to our economy and way of life. We all, legislators, businesses, State government, and citizens need to work together to create a future of good paying jobs that will move us away from dependence on fossil fuels.”
Rep. Michael Mrowicki:
“Climate action is more important than ever now as our weather becomes more chaotic and destructive. Our proposed bills combining tax reform with climate action is a win-win for Vermonters. I’m proud to serve Vermonters by being part of this coalition dedicated to protecting our environment now and for future generations.”
Rep. Valerie Stuart:
“As a creative person and an innovator, I’ve always been at the forefront of breaking the mold when it comes to thinking. I’ve been concerned about climate change for years and see it as the most pressing issue of our time. As a House Commerce & Economic Development Committee member, I plan to continue to champion ideas that will create clean, green energy jobs that uphold Vermont’s values and generate jobs that protect our planet and employ our people.”
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.