By Roger White, a member of 350VT’s Writing for Climate Justice group
March 5, Town Meeting Day in Vermont, is rapidly approaching—and 350VT’s Climate Solutions Resolution campaign is in full swing. I checked in with Field Organizer Jaiel Pulskamp about the second year of the campaign, which aims to build on the successes of 2018 and amplify the voices of the many Vermonters concerned about clean energy in our state. Last year, 39 towns passed non-binding resolutions calling on legislators to prioritize climate change solutions and the transition from fossil fuels in their agendas for the year. This year, she hopes that 25 more towns will pass similar resolutions—bringing the two-year total up to 25% of all Vermont towns.
The timing couldn’t be more crucial. A strong showing at this year’s Town Meeting Day could galvanize discussion around three bills currently before the state legislature: H.746 and S.66 (which would prohibit the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure in the state), and H.175 (which would restrict the use of eminent domain by utility companies for fossil fuel infrastructure). The resolutions will also serve as reminders of the state’s Comprehensive Energy Plan for reducing greenhouse emissions in the coming decades, and the hard work needed to achieve it. As the campaign enters its final push for this year, Pulskamp is most excited about developments in Rutland County, where a new 350VT node has been active in drafting and introducing resolutions in Rutland towns.
It’s fitting that Town Meeting Day, our ongoing exercise of direct democracy, should serve as a way for Vermonters to vocalize concerns about the direction of our state’s energy policy. By resolving to keep environmental issues in focus, we’re better able to plan for a sustainable future. And as state greenhouse gas emission levels continue to rise, it will take even more resolve to hit the reduction targets set by the Comprehensive Energy Plan—a task that Pulskamp sees as central to the Climate Solutions Resolution campaign. “We need to firmly commit to these goals… and take bold steps to implement these changes,” Pulskamp told me.