GOP House members back Scott’s opposition to ‘Global warming solutions Act’

(Editor’s note: earlier this month Gov. Phil Scott repeated that he would not support H688, the Global Warming Solutions Act, if it allows the State to be sued for failing to meet emissions reduction goals. Yesterday the leader of the House GOP caucus issued the statement below, agreeing with Gov. Scott’s concern about lawsuits and adding that the House GOP also will not accept establishment of a ‘Climate Council’ to oversee state compliance of carbon-reduction measures.)

Vermont House Minority Leader Pattie McCoy (R-Poultney) on Wednesday issued the following statement on Legislative Leadership’s continued focus on untenable components of H688, Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), in advance of the upcoming legislative session:

“Vermonters are struggling at a level unheard of since the Great Depression. The effects of a global pandemic and economic crisis have not only taken its toll on state budgets, but more importantly, on the personal budgets of everyday Vermonters trying to make ends meet. The focus of the Legislature during our upcoming session should be to address these incredibly urgent key matters.

“Unfortunately, Legislative Leadership is still intent on addressing unrelated priorities like the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), which exposes the State of Vermont to massive legal liability. There is no reason this matter cannot wait until January when the new Legislature convenes. Yet, Democratic Leadership insists on tackling this issue now at the inherent expense of other priorities like COVID-19 relief, all while Vermonters continue to struggle. Every minute we spend debating the GWSA is time we do not spend investing in relief for Vermonters or balancing the budget.

“Further, the GWSA contains several seriously concerning and unresolved issues. These include creating a new cause-of-action that allows lawsuits to be filed against the State of Vermont, as well as forming a new Climate Council that threatens both legislative and executive authority. This unelected council would be able to implement an overarching climate plan without the will of the Legislature, removing any connection between the Council and the people of Vermont.

“Additionally, the GWSA ignores the tremendous strides Vermont has taken over the past several years to address climate change, clean energy, carbon emissions, and environmental preservation, as well as the proposals to tackle these challenges that have been ignored by Legislative Democrats and Progressives. A list of these implemented and proposed initiatives is included below.

“Legislative Leadership should take some time to seriously reflect on whether the provisions of the GWSA truly represent the best interests of Vermonters, and whether or not now is the time to be spending time, energy, and resources hashing out this issue, when we are in the midst of a global pandemic.”

Photo: Rep. Pattie McCoy (R-Poultney)