State News

54 towns pass climate change solutions

So far, a total of 15 Vermont towns passed a climate solutions resolution on Town Meeting Day this year, with more results to come in. Last year, 39 Vermont towns passed the resolution, which brings the total to 54.

The results of 350Vermont’s two-year campaign indicate that residents from 54 Vermont towns are calling for a halt to new fossil fuel infrastructure, 100 percent renewable energy, and a transition to renewable energy that is fair and equitable for all residents. Some resolutions included additional requests for specific emission reduction projects for their towns.

Last fall the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report calling for radical reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to limit global warming, yet Vermont emissions are still rising. “There is no time left to dilly dally,” said Jaiel Pulskamp, field organizer with 350Vermont, “This is one of the most serious issues facing humanity and Vermont leadership needs to represent the voices of their constituents, who want action now!”

Chip Mayer, of Middlebury, applauded the resolution campaign, saying, “I believe it to be a meaningful local effort that encourages our legislators to pass sweeping new legislation to address our climate crisis, while informing and motivating citizens to do all they can as individuals.”

Historically, advisory resolutions of this nature have prompted action in the Vermont Legislature, and have sometimes propelled action at the national level. There are currently three bills in the Vermont Legislature that echo one key piece of the resolution. Bills to ban new, large fossil fuel infrastructure, H.51 and S.66, were introduced by Representative Mary Sullivan (Chittenden),  and Senator Alison Clarkson (Windsor), respectively. A third bill, H.175, introduced by Mari Cordes (Addison), seeks to limit the use of eminent domain for fossil fuel infrastructure projects. 350Vermont considers the resolution an important next step toward a Green New Deal for Vermont.

“Just as a pebble thrown into water makes a ripple effect to the shore beyond, we can cause a positive effect in our community that will be felt by communities beyond our boundaries,” said Pat Schroeder during Castleton’s town meeting. “I support the climate resolution as that pebble. It is a statement of support that we as a community want to be good stewards to our Earth.”

The 15 towns that passed the resolution so far include Bradford, Castleton, Chester, Middlebury, Chittenden, Norwich, Shrewsbury, Tinmouth, Woodstock, Charlotte, Hinesburg, Jericho, Reading, Montgomery, and Middlesex.

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