The Senate Tuesday voted to override the Governor’s veto of H.688. This follows the House’s successful override vote last week.
Enactment of H.688 over the Governor’s veto presents a number of concerns and challenges for the future.
The biggest issues with H.688 are not necessarily about the issue of climate change. Rather, they concern the process that the new law will create. H.688 establishes mandatory goals for Vermont to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, empower an unelected council to impose policies without legislative process, and create a private right of action for suing the state if implementation benchmarks are not met.
Issues with the new law highlighted by AIV and others concerned have included:
- Lack of sufficient representation of key stakeholders on the Vermont Climate Council created by the bill to impose policies and regulations to meet the greenhouse gas reduction goals;
- Unwarranted authority of the unelected Vermont Climate Council to require programs and regulations without requiring approval by the Legislature and Governor;
- Unnecessary and unrealistic rigidity of specific mandatory reduction targets;
- Costly and potentially arbitrary imposition of regulatory requirements through court action rather than normal legislative and regulatory processes;
- Resulting overall concerns about unwarranted inflexibility, costs, and compliance burdens for Vermont employers.
AIV appreciates all the members and other interested companies who contacted legislators on this bill.
As raised by the Governor in his opposition to the bill, there is the possibility that it might be challenged on constitutional grounds. In the meantime, however, AIV will be focusing on working with stakeholders on the composition of the Council created under the bill and monitoring and engaging with it on its initial activities. More information and analysis will be posted in the near future, and we will be providing updates and alerts as warranted. Companies interested in this issue and process are encouraged to contact us at email@example.com to keep informed and learn of opportunities for involvement.