Governor Phil Scott knows that climate change poses a significant threat to our planet. He’s taking action to help keep Vermont a leader on the issue, while preparing us for a greener economy.
Here are some of the many actions the Scott Administration has taken to combat climate change and preserve our environment:
Partnerships & Collaboration to Combat Climate Change
- Joined the U.S. Climate Alliance to demonstrate continued support of the Paris Climate Agreement.
- Created, through Executive Order, the Vermont Climate Action Commission to recommend tangible actions to reduce emissions.
- Worked with Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) partner states to agree to lower the CO2 emission cap; Vermont is in the process of adopting the necessary regulations to achieve that result.
- Worked with regional partners to update the Zero Emission Vehicle Action Plan to further the electrification of the transportation sector.
- Joined the Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition, through which the state is helping track progress toward our emissions goals and encouraging those in Vermont to participate.
Working to Lower Emissions and Increase Energy Efficiency
- Committed to Vermont’s goal of achieving 90% renewable energy by 2050.
- Vermont has experienced unprecedented growth in renewable generation, especially solar, during the past 18 months and now has almost 300 MW of solar PV relative to a statewide peak of just over 900 MW.
- The FY20 budget builds on the Governor’s proposed electric vehicle initiatives, with $1.7 million for an EV incentive program for low- and moderate-income Vermonters and $700,000 for EV expansion and charging stations.
- Proposed and passed an appropriation of $500,000 to expand the state’s fleet of EVs.
- Committed to investing $2.8 million from the Volkswagen Settlement Fund to the expansion of EV charging stations in Vermont.
- Proposed and passed a $200,000 allocation to DEC’s wood stove changeout program to help Vermonters transition to more efficient heaters.
- Proposed and passed changes to existing law, simplifying the billing process and improving price clarity for electric vehicle charging stations.
- Expanded the SMEEP and Energy Savings Accounts Account programs to make it easier for Vermont’s larger companies to invest in improving energy efficiency of their Vermont facilities.
- Called for a recommendation by the Public Service Department or the Public Utility Commission to mitigate technical barriers to plug-in electric vehicle charging.
- Support the Attorney General in challenging EPA’s decision to rollback Green House Gas emissions standards for light-duty vehicles and defending Vermont’s legal right to adopt more stringent motor vehicle emissions standards.
- The Administration is working with utilities and advocates on rate design to provide better signals for integration of renewable energy and to increase adoption of promising clean energy technologies in transportation and buildings (electric vehicles and heat pumps).
- Completed major investigations into clean energy pathways, including battery storage systems and cold climate heat pump systems. Conducting an ongoing collaboration and investigation advances in clean energy finance.
- Implemented the Renewable Energy Standard that first took effect as a standard in 2017. The standard requires utilities to be 55% renewable and established a program that has Vermont utilities help customers transition away from fossil fuels for heating and transportation. The Vermont standard is among the most ambitious renewable standard in the US.
- Signed into law and working to implement two initiatives from the Legislature (Act 42 and Act 139) improving major appliance efficiency standards.
Protecting and Improving our Waterways
- Fully funded clean water initiatives for FY18 and FY19 at the level recommended by the Treasurer in her January 2017 report. This investment represented a full 70% increase in clean water funding over FY16 and 17 levels.
- In line with the Governor’s proposal, the FY20 budget dedicates a long-term clean water funding source using existing revenues, dedicating another $8 million annually to clean water investments for a total of about $50 million
- As proposed by the Legislature and supported by the Administration, beginning in FY20, revenue from abandoned beverage container deposits, expected to generate $1.5 to $2 million annually, will be directed to the Clean Water Fund.
- Proposed and passed the creation of a network of clean water districts to deliver clean water project dollars directly to municipalities and give towns authority to address water quality improvements. This approach will help municipalities prioritize projects based on what will have the greatest impact locally. Projects include:
- Municipal wastewater and stormwater infrastructure;
- ANR Grants for developed lands, local roads, and natural resources projects;
- VTrans Grants for Municipal roads;
- VTrans Budget for State highways stormwater compliance;
- The Agency of Agriculture (AAFM) Grants and contracts for agriculture;
- VHCB wetlands and farming easements and agricultural water quality improvements;
- ACCD grants, in partnership with ANR and VTrans, to incorporate stormwater controls in downtown transportation improvements;
- Incentive payments to municipalities to establish stormwater utilities to locally fund municipal stormwater controls; and
- In cooperation with Senator Leahy’s Office, the State secured an additional $3.4 million in federal funds to restore Lake Champlain through agriculture, stormwater, and wastewater phosphorus controls, and through natural resources restoration.
- Launched the “Phosphorous Innovation Challenge,” a reverse-pitch competition to support the creation of commercial operations to capture excess phosphorous from manure before it is applied to land and convert it to a scalable product. Through this approach, we have the opportunity for a solution that addresses our phosphorus imbalance in an innovative manner.
- This project is currently in Stage Two, with six organizations undergoing prototyping, business case development, and a demonstration of the proposed technology over the course of several months.