Vermont Gov. Scott slams Legislature’s green heat bill for unaffordability, promises veto

Republican Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has vowed to veto a bill creating financial incentives for residents to install "clean" home heating systems.

Republican Gov. Phil Scott said Friday he will veto a bill passed by the Legislature that aims to help the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging Vermonters to move away from fossil fuels to heat their homes.

Scott said in a statement he shares the goal of the Affordable Heat Act, known as S.5, but he believes the legislation would give too much authority to the unelected Public Utilities Commission and could end up punishing Vermonters who are least able to afford to switch.

“For these reasons and more, I will veto S.5, and I’m asking Vermonters, even the many who have already contacted their legislators, to make their voices heard and ask their representatives and senators to sustain this veto,” he said.


The promised veto of the bill, which got final approval Thursday, sets up a showdown with Democratic lawmakers. They have a veto-proof majority in both the House and Senate, but it’s unclear if all would vote to override.

Scott vetoed similar legislation last year, and an override failed by one vote in the House.

House Speaker Jill Krowinski said this week, before this year’s bill received final legislative approval, that Scott and others were spreading misinformation about it, especially that Vermonters would soon be unable to afford to heat their homes.

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Krowinski said in a statement that the legislation is intended to provide relief from increases in fuel costs and create incentives to help low- and moderate-income residents weatherize their homes and diversify how they heat them.


“The rulemaking process and future legislative debate will give Vermonters multiple venues and additional opportunities to share feedback, ask questions, and help shape the final product,” Krowinski said. “This bill will not only help Vermont mitigate the impact of climate change in our state, but it will also lower costs and keep prices at a consistent level, allowing Vermonters to afford to heat their homes.”

The Affordable Heat Act grew out of legislation passed in 2020 that requires Vermont to reduce greenhouse gas pollution to 26% below 2005 levels by 2025. Emissions would need to be 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% below by 2050.

Carrying out the provisions of the law would be overseen by the Public Utility Commission, which would develop and implement clean heat programs designed through a public process.

The bill says the final rules to implement the program must be submitted to the Legislature by January 2025, and progress reports must be provided in February 2025 and on final submission.

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