Governor names new Climate Action Commission

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Governor names new Climate Action Commission

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 1:14pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Thursday, Governor Phil Scott issued Executive Order 12-17, forming the Vermont Climate Action Commission. Among the Commission’s many responsibilities will be the task of unifying Vermont’s ambitious climate and economic goals.

“We are already seeing tremendous growth in renewable energy jobs,” said Scott at a press conference announcing the formation and members of the Commission. “Since 2013, employment in this sector has grown 30 percent.  That is something to build on.  But all sectors of Vermont’s economy will need to change to take advantage of this tremendous economic opportunity,” Scott added.  

The Commission will hold its first meeting in the middle of August and will be chaired by Peter Walke, Deputy Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources, and co-chaired by Paul Costello of the Vermont Council on Rural Development. The other committed members of the Commission and the sectors they represent are:

  • Michael Schirling, Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development
  • Michele Boomhower, designee of the Secretary of the Agency of Transportation
  • June Tierney, Commissioner of the Department of Public Service
  • Marie Audet, representing the agriculture sector
  • Linda McGinnis, representing the clean energy sector
  • Joe Fusco, representing the commercial hauling or trucking sectors
  • Bob Stevens, representing the construction or development sectors
  • Kristin Carlson, representing energy utilities
  • Mary Sprayregen, representing the energy efficiency sector
  • Johanna Miller, representing a statewide environmental organization
  • Peter Bourne, representing the fuels sector
  • Mayor Liz Gamache, representing local government
  • Adam Knudsen, representing the manufacturing sector
  • Bill Laberge, representing small businesses
  • Bethany Fleishman, representing the transportation demand management sector
  • Tom Donahue, representing the Vermont Community Action Partnership

Before the Commission’s first meeting, the Governor a member from the research and development sector, a member representing the forestry or forest products sector, and a student currently enrolled at a Vermont academic institution.  

“Climate change is an urgent environmental challenge, but our response to it could provide the greatest economic opportunity Vermont has ever seen,” said Johanna Miller, VNRC’s Energy & Climate Program Director. “I’m committed to making sure we seize that opportunity by focusing on public policy and substantive action, and ensuring all Vermonters benefit from the solutions we must advance. I look forward to working with the Scott administration and fellow members of the Commission to ensure this effort succeeds.”

Last month, Governor Scott joined Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, business leaders, municipal officials, VNRC, and dozens of others in a commitment for the state to follow through on the international Paris Climate Agreement and Vermont’s more ambitious climate and clean energy goals of an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and utilizing 90 percent renewable energy by 2050.

“The creation of the Vermont Climate Action Commission is an important step toward ensuring Vermont puts the policies, programs, and strategies in place to meet Vermont’s climate and clean energy goals,” said VNRC Executive Director Brian Shupe. “That will require a deep focus on smart land use, transportation, heating, and electric solutions that dramatically reduce carbon pollution and put Vermonters to work making the needed transition away from our reliance on fossil fuels.”

In early June, VNRC joined 12 other low-income, business, and environmental organizations to call on Gov. Scott to take serious action on climate change following the abdication of federal leadership on this pressing issue. Creating a climate commission was among those requests. “VNRC appreciates the Governor’s quick action and appreciates the opportunity to join the Commission to identify the policies and approaches that will achieve the our state’s energy and climate goals, help spur economic development, grow jobs, foster short- and long-term affordability, and ensure all Vermonters benefit from the clean energy transition,” stated Miller.

Source: Governor. VNRC 7.20.2017 Interested students should contact Peter Walke at peter.walke@vermont.gov for more information.