As the bitter winter continues on, Vermonters continue to crank up the heat. The Committee on Natural Resources and Energy is proposing a bill to help low-income families keep that heat inside.
"You're talking not just about efficiency to reduce emission into the environment, but you're talking about human lives, you're talking about health and welfare and impact on the economy," said Rep. Tony Klein, D-East Montpelier.
The two-part bill focuses on providing weatherization for low-income families, as well as reducing Vermont's carbon footprint.
"The focus of the bill is efficiency-- it's thermal efficiency. It's providing more resources for low-income Vermonters because they are losing resources. If we don't do something, we are going to go backwards, not forward," Klein said.
However, this bill comes with a price-- a proposed 10- to 12-cents per gallon tax on heating oil. Matt Cota of the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association argues this tax is not what the state needs.
"Any tax, whether you create an excise tax or carbon tax, any tax that is created on heating fuel is by its nature a regressive tax and it hurts low-income Vermonters more than upper income Vermonters," Cota said.
The committee says the tax will raise an estimated $16 million that will go to weatherizing low-income housing across the state. Klein says that the idea is to prevent fuel waste by heating homes more efficiently. Klein argues that Vermonters need to spend money for energy conservation. Cota disagrees and says the marketplace will do that, and since 1970 heating oil consumption has decreased over 60 percent.
The bill will tax an additional 1 percent on heating oil, electricity, dyed fuel, propane and natural gas.
Klein says his committee is also considering paying for weatherization by taxing break-open tickets and plastic water bottles. That heat tax bill could go before the full House by the end of the week.
Monday, March 10 2014 4:30 PM EDT2014-03-10 20:30:25 GMT
Vermont Law School in South Royalton is expanding in Southeast Asia.A $700,000 federal grant will fund an extension of programs for the U.S.-China Partnership for Environmental Law. The project aims toMore >>
The project aims to educate Chinese government officials about environmental protection and policy.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 4:10 PM EDT2014-03-10 20:10:15 GMT
For nearly four years family and friends of a murdered Northeast Kingdom woman have wondered if the culprits would ever be caught. Monday afternoon two of the three men accused of the crime -- will beMore >>
Twenty-seven year old Richard Fletcher and his 33-year-old half brother, Keith Baird, were brought shackled into a St. Johnsbury courtroom Monday afternoon.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 3:27 PM EDT2014-03-10 19:27:21 GMT
A fire that left three families homeless in St Johnsbury Friday was caused by a candle.That's the word from fire investigators. They say the fire started in a bedroom with a candle placed close to a curtain.More >>
A fire that left three families homeless in St Johnsbury Friday was caused by a candle.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 3:15 PM EDT2014-03-10 19:15:59 GMT
Police say she was one half of a daughter-dad theft team. And Harley Yandow was arrested again -- this time in Highgate.Troopers say Yandow was in a car stopped for a traffic violation Saturday when theyMore >>
Troopers say Yandow was in a car stopped for a traffic violation Saturday when they arrested her on an outstanding warrant from Arizona for car theft.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 2:33 PM EDT2014-03-10 18:33:52 GMT
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has a new name and logo.The Waterbury-based company announced Monday it has changed its name to Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. Shareholders approved the change at the Company'sMore >>
The Waterbury-based compnay announced Monday it has changed its company name to Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 12:56 PM EDT2014-03-10 16:56:54 GMT
The spring issue of "4 Legs & a Tail" has hit news stands. Stories include getting your pet adjusted to a new baby, advice on keeping pets safe during golf season and Vermont's first Dog and Pony Show.More >>
The spring issue of "4 Legs & a Tail" has hit news stands. Editor Tim Hoehn visited the Morning Show to share a few of the cover stories that might interest pet lovers.More >>