Vt. Legislature, Gov. Scott headed to showdown over clean heat bill

Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 12:08 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 25, 2023 at 12:28 PM EST
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont legislative leaders and the governor are headed for another showdown over clean heat legislation aimed at reducing the state’s contribution to climate warming emissions.

Governor Phil Scott says he is opposed to the Affordable Heat Act, a revised version of the Clean Heat Standard that he vetoed last year. The measure seeks to transition home heating away from fossil fuels.

In a letter sent to the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee on Friday, the governor’s office makes clear his concerns have not been addressed in the Affordable Heat Act bill. He points to a lack of information on the fiscal impact, including costs to purchase, retire, or trade clean heat credits. It also says there are policies identified as problematic in the Clean Heat Standard that remain in the Affordable Heat Act.

Senate President Phil Baruth, D-Chittenden County, says the governor is asking for more studying of the bill’s implications but what that really means is further delaying its passing. ”We are going to get this bill through both chambers. We are going to get it to the governor. We will work with him on the way but if in the end if he chooses not to sign the bill, we believe we have the votes now to pass this. I think there is no more important bill to be considering, so we will absolutely override if we need to,” he said.

House lawmakers last year were unable to override Scott’s veto. House Speaker Jill Krowinski’s office says it’s too early to be discussing an override but that climate legislation is one of her top priorities.

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