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Vermont Legislature
Follow VPR's statehouse coverage, featuring Pete Hirschfeld and Bob Kinzel in our Statehouse Bureau in Montpelier.

Scott Vetoes Climate Bill, Override Vote Scheduled For Thursday

A person standing in the middle of a room in front of a microphone.
John Dillon
VPR File
House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, seen earlier this year during a physically distant interview, says the climate bill is needed because the Scott administration has failed to act to cut the state's carbon emissions.

Gov. Phil Scott has vetoed a bill designed to add teeth to Vermont’s efforts to cut greenhouse gases by allowing the public to sue the state if the mandated targets are missed.

Scott’s veto sets up the governor for another showdown with the Democrat-controlled Legislature.

Earlier this year, Scott vetoed a minimum wage bill and legislation to require paid family leave.Lawmakers overrode his veto on minimum wage but failed to get the necessary two-thirds majority in the House to override the family leave vote.

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On the global warming bill, the votes seem to be sufficient to override. The bill passed the House earlier in the session by 102-45 and the Senate 22-6.
The House is expected to vote on the veto Thursday.

The bill says Vermont has to cut its carbon pollution by 26% below 2005 levels by 2025.  By 2030, emissions have to be 40% below 1990 levels.

A 23-member “climate commission” would be charged with developing ways to meet those goals. If the state fails to meet those targets, the public can sue to enforce them.

Scott objected to both the litigation provision and the role of the climate commission. At a news conference last week, he noted that the bill is known as the “global warming solutions act.”

"When I really look at the bill, I don't see any solutions in there, all I see is mandates," Scott said.

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But House Speaker Mitzi Johnson said the legislation is needed because the Scott administration has failed to act.

“Four years into his term as governor, Vermont still lacks a strategy to prepare for and address climate change,” she said in a statement. “Our most vulnerable communities and rural areas lack the resiliency needed for the climate emergency. Vermont is the only state in the northeast with higher greenhouse gas emissions than we had 30 years ago. It’s time for Vermont to catch up. Unfortunately, the governor’s veto of this bill risks putting us further behind.”    

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or get in touch with reporter John Dillon @VPRDillon

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John worked for VPR in 2001-2021 as reporter and News Director. Previously, John was a staff writer for the Sunday Times Argus and the Sunday Rutland Herald, responsible for breaking stories and in-depth features on local issues. He has also served as Communications Director for the Vermont Health Care Authority and Bureau Chief for UPI in Montpelier.
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