House Passes Unprecedented, Essential Climate Investments in FY23 Budget
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 25, 2022
Johanna Miller, email@example.com, 802-371-9611
Lauren Hierl, firstname.lastname@example.org, 860-670-2629
Ben Edgerly Walsh, email@example.com, 802-734-7680
Jordan Giaconia, firstname.lastname@example.org
Robb Kidd, email@example.com
Montpelier – Today, the Vermont House of Representatives passed the FY23 budget, H.740, with unprecedented investments in climate action and resilience, which will help Vermonters reduce their energy costs, their reliance on expensive and polluting fossil fuels and much more. The bill will next head to the Senate.
This level of commitment to climate action is long overdue and essential. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report has signaled a dire warning about our global future and the consequences of inaction – something underscored by the recent, harmful geopolitics demonstrating the high costs of remaining dependent on imported fossil fuels.
With this budget, the House is investing more than $200 million in unprecedented funding for climate priorities, including support for increased access to clean and affordable heating and weatherization services for low- and moderate-income Vermonters, expanded incentives and grants for electric vehicles (EVs) and EV supply equipment, help to ready homes and our state’s energy grid for electrification, investments in our climate workforce, and aid to municipalities to reduce their energy costs and carbon footprint.
“The Vermont House made a historic investment in programs that reduce our reliance on imported, costly, and price-volatile fossil fuels and really ramp up our efforts to help combat the climate crisis,” said Johanna Miller, Energy & Climate Program Director at the Vermont Natural Resources Council. “This package of climate strategies will help ensure Vermont meets the legally binding requirements of the Global Warming Solutions Act and all Vermonters – lower-income and historically overburdened Vermonters in particular – power their lives, heat their homes, and get where they need to go with more affordable, cleaner options.”
Lauren Hierl, Executive Director of Vermont Conservation Voters stated, “Vermonters have long demanded bold climate action, and it’s exciting to see the Vermont House step up with historic investments in climate action. These investments will cut pollution, create good-paying jobs, and help Vermont families button up their homes, and access cleaner and more affordable ways to stay warm and get around.”
“In the face of a worsening climate crisis and global oil markets that again and again have spiked due to natural disasters, economic crises, and the actions of dictators like Putin, the need to finally get off of fossil fuels is more obvious than ever,” added Ben Edgerly Walsh, Climate & Energy Program Director with the Vermont Public Interest Research Group. “Though these investments will not accomplish that by themselves, they are the most significant investments Vermont has ever made in climate action, and will help thousands of Vermont families cut their fossil fuel use and make ends meet.”
“The health of Vermont’s economy and the health of our environment are inherently intertwined, so it’s critical that our state moves away from imported, price-volatile fossil fuels and toward cleaner, more affordable alternatives,” stated Jordan Giaconia, Public Policy Manager with Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. “From clean transportation and workforce development to green energy and home heating, the historic investments included in this year’s budget will take Vermont’s clean energy transition to new heights—a move that promises to keep more dollars flowing into our local economies and less pollution in our atmosphere. VBSR applauds the house for today’s vote and their tireless work to give businesses and everyday Vermonters the tools they need to be climate champions.”
Additionally, the Transportation bill, H.736, advanced in the Vermont House today, and includes major investments in programs and resources for climate action. In addition to the clean transportation investments in the budget, H.736 also continues zero-fare public transit, and supports the creation of innovative new rural public transit options.
“As transportation is nearly 40% of Vermont’s carbon emissions, the largest contributor of greenhouse gases in Vermont, the House’s actions in passing bold investments in vehicle electrification sets Vermont on a course to achieving the required carbon reduction requirements,” said Robb Kidd, Vermont Chapter Program Manager at the Sierra Club. “The budget and transportation bills strategically support the transition to remove Vermont’s dependencies on fossil fuels by helping those of low and moderate incomes to benefit from incentives, strategically deploying infrastructure, continuing investments in fare-free transit, and supporting innovative rural transit solutions.”
“The proposed investments the Vermont House advanced, both in the FY ‘23 Budget and the Transportation Bill (T-Bill) are essential and really something to celebrate. These investments also represent a minimum level of funding needed to ensure we make significant, annual progress to meet our legally-binding pollution reduction requirements – and do so in an equitable, strategic manner,” added Miller. “We thank and applaud Speaker Krowinski, Chairs Mary Hooper and Diane Lanpher, the committees, and all the House members who voted to support these critical investments. We look forward to continuing to work to maintain these essential climate investments as these bills move through the legislative process.”