Vetoed: Vermont’s Proposed Clean Heat Standard

A Clean Heat Standard proposed in Vermont will not become law, reports Matt Cota, executive director of the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association. Gov. Phil Scott’s veto was sustained by a single vote, Cota says.

“Despite a flurry of activity to get one representative to reverse [the] vote, all 51 House members that voted with the Governor (including three Democrats) refused to flip,” Cota reports in a May 11 email to VFDA members. The vote was held on May 10. As a result of the vote, the state’s Public Utility Commission will not have the authority to regulate the oilheat and propane industry this year, Cota says. The legislature could negotiate with the Governor and amend the CHS and pass it again in both the House and the Senate before they adjourn, Cota notes, “but that is not probable.”

However, a lawsuit is possible, Cota says: “The state of Vermont could be sued for violating the Global Warming Solutions Act. The 2020 law requires the state to implement measures that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the Clean Heat Standard is the signature policy of the Climate Action Plan. If a lawsuit is filed and the civil division of Vermont Superior Court agrees with [the] appellant, the Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources will be compelled to take regulatory action.” If that were to happen, Cota writes, the agency could consider a statewide ban on the installation of new fossil fuel burning appliances.

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