The House Energy and Technology Committee is holding a public hearing on April 23rd from 4:15pm – 7pm in Room 11 of the State House in Montpelier on the future of fossil fuel infrastructure in the state. Several bills have been introduced this year aimed at limiting the growth of fossil fuel infrastructure in Vermont.
VPIRG believes that it’s very important to stop investing in fossil fuel infrastructure if Vermont is to meet its commitments to clean energy and reduced climate emissions. H.51, one of the three bills that the committee is taking public comment on, takes the most comprehensive approach by banning the creation of new fossil fuel infrastructure in the state. Other bills include: H.175, which prevents the use of eminent domain for fossil fuel infrastructure and H.214, which would require the consideration of groundwater contamination and leaks associate with natural gas projects before they are granted a Certificate of Public Good to be constructed.
THE NEED FOR LEGISLATION
Although natural gas (methane, or CH4) has been marketed as the “clean” fossil fuel, recent studies have proven that it has a warming impact that is many times higher, pound for pound, than CO2. In addition, the fracking used to extract natural gas can have devastating environmental impacts. We need to be moving towards climate solutions by investing in advanced renewable energy infrastructure, not continuing the status quo.
Apart from the greenhouse gas emissions associated with natural gas, there are serious safety concerns with pipelines that carry this fuel, or any fossil fuel. Leaks and explosions of pipelines accounted for about 20 deaths annually in the United States and caused an average of $453 million dollars’ worth of damage each year for the last five years.
KEY MESSAGES FOR THE HEARING
At the hearing, make your request to legislators on the House Energy and Technology Committee a simple one:
- Urge them to support legislation (like H.51) that would put a stop to new fossil fuel infrastructure in Vermont.
- Let them know that you would prefer to see more investments in clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency.
- Tell them why YOU care about this. Why is this important to you and your family? Personal stories really matter.
Remember, the Committee has already heard from several experts on these bills – now they need to hear that citizens like you feel strongly about the topic! You won’t be asked questions. They are just there to hear from you. So, let them know why you think they should say NO to fossil fuel infrastructure and YES to a clean energy future for Vermont.