Vermonters Call for Carbon Pollution Tax at CEP Hearings

Three out of the five hearings on the draft revision to the Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP) have been completed and a consistent theme has emerged in the public comments: Vermonters want the Public Service Department to recommend a price on carbon pollution in the 2015 CEP.

At hearings in Lyndonville, Essex and Montpelier, person after person has stood up to tell the Department that a carbon pollution tax is the most effective policy Vermont can implement to achieve its clean energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals while boosting the state’s economy.

Newt Garland spoke at the Essex hearing, telling the Department that as a grandfather he “cares about the future.”

“I think the future depends on our reducing fossil fuel usage,” Garland said. “So I would like to see more discussion and perhaps a recommendation in the energy plan for a carbon pollution tax.”

His comments echoed many others who have come from all over the state to weigh in on the CEP.

The Comprehensive Energy Plan provides a road map for Vermont policymakers on how to shape the state’s energy future and achieve its goals. In 2011, the plan set the ambitious but necessary goal of Vermont getting 90% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050.

The plan is set to be updated every 4 years, and the Department of Public Service is holding these hearings to gather public input on the 2015 revision.

The PSD already held preliminary hearings earlier in the summer and has released its first draft of the 2015 plan. That draft did not include a specific recommendation for a carbon pollution tax, prompting many Vermonters, like William Scott, to ask for one.

“I think it will go a long way toward supporting all the other goals and programs in the plan including improving improvements in efficiency and transformation to clean energy sources,” Scott said.

There are still two more hearings scheduled for this month — one in Bellows Falls on Monday, October 26 and one in Rutland on Thursday, October 29.

For those who cannot make the hearings, the Public Service Department is accepting comments through an online portal.