Scott vetoes climate change bill, says it would lead to ‘costly’ litigation

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Vermont Flag (GEN)

MONTPELIER, Vt. – Gov. Phil Scott vetoed a climate change bill Tuesday in a move that garnered swift reaction from Democrats.

“To prioritize the emission reductions necessary to address climate change, we need to learn the lessons of building a comprehensive clean water plan.  H.688, as written, will lead to inefficient spending and long, costly court battles, not the tangible investments in climate-resilient infrastructure, and affordable weatherization and clean transportation options that Vermonters need,” Gov. Scott added.

Scott wrote he shares the legislature’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but doesn’t want the potentially harmful effects of the bill, the “Global Warming Solutions Act.”  Scott has said he doesn’t think making the state financially liable and open to a lawsuit is the right approach.

The Vermont House, last week concurred with minor Senate changes to the bill in a 102 to 45 vote. Lawmakers that support the bill said Scott lacks “lacks a strategy to prepare for and address climate change.”

“Our most vulnerable communities and rural areas lack the resiliency needed for the climate emergency,” Democratic House Speaker Mitzi Johnson said. “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.”

Attorney General TJ, who testified in support of H.688, criticized the veto in a statement. “Let me be clear: As Attorney General, I find this bill to be a legally sound and measured approach to tackling one of the greatest crises of our time,” Donovan wrote.

Scott wrote he hopes the legislature will revisit the bill before it adjourns or in January, using “what we have learned from our clean water work to make it better.”

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