Vt. lawmakers approve thermal energy bill

Published: Mar. 17, 2022 at 12:03 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 17, 2022 at 7:18 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont lawmakers Thursday gave the greenlight to a sweeping thermal energy bill.

The Clean Heat Standard aims to reduce home heating carbon emissions which make up 30% of Vermont’s greenhouse gasses. The bill would create a credit marketplace for fuel dealers who choose to sell cleaner sources of fuel and invest in weatherization. The measure was a key recommendation of the state’s climate council created under the Global Warming Solutions Act. If enacted, the law would go into effect in 2025.

House lawmakers approved the measure 96-44. “This is the first step in helping Vermonters reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and the first steps in Vermont reducing our fossil fuels,” said Rep. Tim Briglin, D-Thetford.

Environmental groups are applauding the bill’s passage, calling it one of the most significant steps to curbing our greenhouse gasses, but not everyone is on board. Fuel dealers say bigger companies that already deal with biodiesel and weatherization can adapt but they say smaller local companies could be squeezed out.

Governor Phil Scott and some House GOP members also say they are opposed to giving the Public Utility Commission -- an unelected body -- the authority to administer the program and the clean heat credits.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

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