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VT Legislative Update, Week 8 | February 28, 2020

As the eighth week of the legislative session winds down and lawmakers head into Town Meeting break, momentum continues on a number of key VCV priorities.
A few highlights from the week: the Act 250 modernization bill passed the House, and robust testimony and bill mark up continues on 100% renewable energy, efficiency program updates, PFAS restrictions, and more.
See below for details on what happened at the State House this week.

CLIMATE: #ActOnClimateVT
As you shared last week, we were excited to see the strong 105-37 vote on the Global Warming Solutions Act (H.688). Click here to find out how your Representatives voted – click on their name and you can see their vote on this bill, and other environmental bills. If you see them while they’re home over Town Meeting week, take a moment to thank your Representative(s) if they voted for this foundational climate policy!


Meanwhile, the Senate Finance Committee did extensive work this week on legislation to require 100% renewable energy by 2030 (S.267), as well as a bill to update our energy efficiency utilities to create programs that will help drive down greenhouse gas emissions with better heating and transportation solutions for more Vermonters (S.337).  The Transportation committees also continued examining issues around electric vehicles, pubic transit, and related issues. We’re eager to have the Legislature dig into the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) soon. Read more details about our full climate action plan for 2020 at this link.


Climate Dispatch videos are posted every Friday of the Legislative session.


Plus, you can sign up here to receive the Climate Dispatch in your inbox each week. Also, stay up-to-date on what’s happening on climate action by following the hashtag #ActOnClimateVT on Facebook and Twitter.

TOXICS: #ToxicFreeVT 
As Vermont communities wrestle with PFAS-contamination in our drinking water, effluent from our wastewater treatment facilities, and other sources, we know we need to stop importing these harmful PFAS chemicals into our state. Testimony continued this week on legislation (S.295) that would help turn off the tap on more PFAS chemicals coming into Vermont by restricting their use in firefighting foam, food packaging, and carpets and rugs. The bill will need to move out of the Senate Health & Welfare Committee the week after Town Meeting in order to stay in play for the year, so we will be working hard to try to ensure it advances.


We continue advocating that the Senate vote to support legislation to hold polluters accountable for medical monitoring expenses for victims of toxic contamination. As you know, Governor Scott vetoed this bill (S.37), and now the legislature has the opportunity to vote to override that veto.


To move medical monitoring forward, we need to secure 20 votes in the Senate. We need Senators to hear from constituents to take up and vote to override this veto, and hold polluters accountable for the harm they cause. If you see your Senator(s) over Town Meeting break, ask them to take up and support the medical monitoring bill!

ACT 250: #Act250
The full House voted today to send the Act 250 modernization bill on to the Senate on a 88-52 vote. The current version of the bill improves environmental protections by: adding criteria to better maintain intact forests and increase protections for wildlife habitat; address sprawling developing; better address climate change; and improve protections for wildlife corridors. Click here to see the letter of support VCV and other leading environmental and conservation groups sent the full House about why we support this bill. 

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