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Letter: Global warming act deserves passage – Bennington Banner

To the Editor:

With lawmakers returning to the virtual Statehouse to wrap up the 2020 session and finalize a FY 21 budget, a few critical policy priorities will also see action — including the Global Warming Solutions Act. This bill is long overdue, requiring Vermont to make progress on its longstanding yet unmet commitment to reducing planet-warming pollution. With many sectors of our economy in flux, this bill offers an exciting opportunity to strategically rebuild and recover in ways that puts Vermonters to work in well-paying jobs and makes us more resilient, healthy and energy independent.

This bill — H.688 — received overwhelming support in both the House and the Senate and, in days, it is likely the House will vote again to move the bill to the governor’s desk. I thank my two representatives, Kathleen James and Cynthia Browning, for their support of this bill in the first House vote, and I urge them to support it again in the upcoming vote.

This issue has been the proverbial “can kicked down the road” for FAR too long. We cannot afford further delay. Vermont is lagging behind our neighbors in doing our part to reduce climate pollution with the highest greenhouse gas emissions per capita in New England. Neighboring New York, Massachusetts and Maine have enacted similar policies to the Global Warming Solutions Act now being considered here. Massachusetts, which has had a bill like this on the books for year, has been successful in driving down the state’s emissions all the while enjoying a strong economy.

As we individually and collectively strive to weather the coronavirus pandemic, we also have an obligation to finally act to address this growing crisis — climate change. This bill can serve as a strategic economic development, resilient recovery roadmap and help our rural communities survive and thrive now — and far into the future. As the bill comes up for a vote in the House in the coming days, I urge Rep. James and Rep. Browning to maintain their stand for climate action, 21st century economic development and strong, rural communities and again vote YES on H.688 – the Global Warming Solutions Act. This is a policy that is proven to work elsewhere, and we can and must make it work here in Vermont, for all Vermonters.

Jeff Dexter,

Sunderland

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