Right now, the Vermont State Senate is considering how to invest the over $1 billion in federal stimulus funds the American Rescue Plan is delivering to Vermont. We need to make sure that they understand Vermonters see climate action investments as critical to our state’s ability to build back from the COVID-19 crisis in a just, equitable way that prepares our state for future crises.
Last year, the legislature passed the Global Warming Solutions Act, setting clear climate pollution targets Vermont must meet in the years to come. Last week, Governor Scott proposed $200 million in climate investments from the stimulus bill. That plan represents the first truly significant proposed down payment on the strategic investments necessary for Vermont to hit the Solutions Act targets the legislature laid out.
Make no mistake – investing $200 million from the Rescue Plan, or roughly 1 in 5 stimulus dollars that bill dedicates to Vermont – is just the beginning of what’s needed. And while the Scott Administration’s suggestions for how to use those funds were good, there were many needs left unaddressed. Whether the legislature (and in this moment, the State Senate in particular) chooses to make the same climate investments the Scott Administration proposed or other, equally worthy ones, the critical thing is that Vermont take full advantage of this unique opportunity to accelerate the pace of our climate and infrastructure modernization work.
These investments wouldn’t just cut climate pollution and begin to put Vermont on track to hitting the climate targets state law and climate science require, they would have myriad other benefits. Efficiency and clean energy are proven job creators, and climate action and energy modernization would play an important role in building our economy up as well.
Efficiency and electrification cut Vermonters’ energy use and energy bills, giving us an opportunity to make things just a little easier for the Vermonters who struggle most to make ends meet. And the public health benefits of weatherization and cleaner air have been demonstrated over and over again.
It’s been said we should work to build back from this pandemic to a better place than we were before it hit. We could not agree more. And ensuring that climate action and modern energy are a cornerstone of that recovery effort is critical to “building back better.”
Please email your Senator(s) and urge them to do just that. Use our link – it’ll just take one moment.