In Cities and Towns…
In communities across Vermont, citizens are bringing solutions to town. Whether its town meeting resolutions to keep Vermont free of tar sands oil or spreading critical information about upcoming changes to health care, check to see what’s on the docket in your community.
Tar Sands Free Vermont Resolutions
Cities and towns across Vermont have taken up the call to keep Vermont Tar Sands free. The Portland-Montreal Pipeline is a 62-year-old pipeline runs through Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, while also intersecting 15 natural waterways. Tar Sands oil interests are looking to this pipeline to bring tar sands oil east. Click here to see if your town has a resolution on the docket for Town Meeting and vote “yes” to Keep Vermont Tar Sands Free!
Local Energy Initiatives
More than 75 cities and towns are competing in the Vermont Home Energy Challenge, a one year effort to increase the number of homes completing comprehensive energy efficiency improvements in Vermont. Participating towns have a target of weatherizing 3% of the homes within their community this year. The Challenge will help Vermont reach its statewide goal of 25% energy savings in 80,000 homes by the year 2020. Click here for more info or to see if your community is participating!
Health Care Reform Education
The Health Benefit Exchange, required by the federal Affordable Care Act, will open for enrollment in October 2013. Tagged, “Vermont Health Connect,” this will be a marketplace where individuals, families and small businesses in Vermont can compare health plans and select one that fits their needs and budget. Tailor-made town meeting day information kits are available at the Vermont Health Connect website. Click here to help spread the word about upcoming changes.
Senator Bill Doyle’s Town Meeting Day Survey
On the Doyle poll this year are a few questions on which VPIRG holds official “positions,” including:
- Yes – Vermont should continue its efforts to close Vermont Yankee
- No – to a 3-year moratorium on wind turbines on Vermont’s ridgelines
- Yes – to a Vermont’s bottle deposit law being expanded to include all bottles beverages
- Yes – to a sugar-sweetened beverage tax
- Yes – to locally grown food being an important part of Vermont’s economic future
- No – to natural gas being an important part of Vermont’s economy*
- *VPIRG led the campaign to ban fracking for natural gas in Vermont in 2012. We believe Vermont should be focusing our efforts on conservation, efficiency and the development of renewable resources rather than fossil fuels of any sort.
News from the State House
Ask your reps and senators to support or oppose the following key bills!
Support Funding Energy Solutions
It’s time for the state to make a firm commitment to fully fund programs that make it easier and more affordable for Vermonters to weatherize our homes and switch to clean, local heating sources. Tell your reps to include the funding in the energy bill, H.216, at the level needed to meet the state’s goal of weatherizing 80,000 homes by 2020. Learn more about the recommendations of the Thermal Efficiency Task Force and other resources at VPIRG’s Clean Heat campaign page.
Support GMO Labeling
Hot out of the House Committee on Agriculture, H.112 would require labels on genetically engineered foods sold in Vermont. Ask your reps to protect Vermonters’ right to know what’s in the food we eat and food our families. Learn more about H.112 at the VT Right to Know GMOs campaign website.
Support Wind: Oppose S.30
A new poll by the Castleton Polling Institute continues to show overwhelming public support for building renewable wind energy turbines on Vermont ridgelines. The poll is a timely reminder of just how out of step the supporters of anti-wind legislation, S.30, are with most Vermonters. This is the time when we should look to Vermont’s leaders to promote actual solutions to our energy needs, not retreat from the state’s commitment to popular clean energy goals. Tell your senator to oppose S.30 and to support clean energy projects in Vermont! For more resources on the role of wind power in Vermont’s energy mix, visit VPIRG’s campaign page.
Support a Bigger Better Bottle Bill
An Agency of Natural Resources study, due out on March 1st, is almost entirely focused on comparing the costs of operating the bottle redemption system to single-stream recycling. To ensure a broader range of issues are considered, VPIRG and the Container Recycling Institute have co-released a new analysis which examines some issues beyond the scope of the Agency’s analysis. Check out our findings on the environmental and economic benefits of an expanded Bottle Bill. We encourage people to share their views on the Bottle Bill and draft ANR report at an upcoming public hearing on: Tuesday, March 12, 5:30-7pm, Pavilion Auditorium, Montpelier. Click here for more info and to RSVP.
Support Health Care Reform
As the state transitions first to the Health Benefit Exchange (Vermont Health Connect) and later to universal Green Mountain Care, VPIRG is focused on ensuring Vermonters maintain access to affordable coverage along the way. Learn more about current legislation (H.418) to maintain consistent coverage for Vermonters transitioning to the Exchange in 2014 at VPIRG’s health care website. Also, for a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions answered our health care experts, visit http://bit.ly/HCfaq today.
Support a Ban on Toxic Flame Retardants
VPIRG supports legislation (S.81) to ban toxic and ineffective flame retardant chemicals, chlorinated Tris and Deca. In addition to the negative health impacts, studies show they don’t even effectively protect us from fires. Tris has been a known carcinogen since the 1970s, when it was pulled from children’s pajamas, and yet the chemical is found in nearly everything with a cushion. Learn more about S.81 and broader toxic chemical reform at our Campaign for Toxic Free Kids website.