MONTPELIER — Vermont Gov. Phil Scott on Tuesday vetoed H.688, an act relating to addressing climate change, known as the Global Warming Solutions Act, but provided a path forward to pass a bill that achieves the stated goals without the harmful impacts of the current bill.
Scott outlined three areas where the bill could be improved to earn his support, which he had previously detailed in an Aug. 12 letter to legislative leaders, alongside proposed legislative language for which his Administration has advocated throughout the process.
"I share the Legislature's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing the resilience of Vermont's infrastructure and landscape in the face of a changing climate," Scott stated in his letter.
"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," he added.
"Even now, as many Vermonters struggle with challenges from COVID-19, I continually hear the environment is a top priority," said Lt. Governor David Zuckerman, who is running against Scott for governor. "With this veto, the Governor has abdicated responsibility for our future. Keeping Vermonters safe means addressing both the health challenges at hand, as well as the health challenges in the future. We must listen to the science to keep Vermonters healthy both around COVID and on climate change."
Attorney General T.J. Donovan said the bill is constitutional.
"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 said. "The Global Warming Solutions Act provides the public with tools to hold government accountable - and hold politicians accountable for their rhetoric and their promises. This is good policy and good governance."