By Associated Press - Wednesday, September 16, 2020

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Republican Gov. Phil Scott has vetoed a bill that would have required Vermont to meet certain greenhouse gas emissions targets in the coming years and allowed the state to be sued if it didn’t.

Scott said in his veto letter on Tuesday evening that he “shares the Legislature’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing the resilience of Vermont’s infrastructure and landscape in the face of a changing climate” but had problems with three areas of the bill, including one that “could lead to costly litigation and delay.”

He also took issue with the structure and responsibilities of the climate council that the so-called Vermont global warming solutions act would have created and the lack of a process to ensure that the Legislature votes on the climate action plan created by an “unelected and unaccountable” council.

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson said in a written statement that the House will take prompt action to override Scott’s veto, which she said leaves Vermonters behind in addressing climate change.

Four years into Scott’s term, “Vermont still lacks a strategy to prepare for and address climate change. Our most vulnerable communities and rural areas lack the resiliency needed for the climate emergency,” she wrote, adding that Vermont is the only state in the Northeast with higher greenhouse gas emissions than it had 30 years ago. “It’s time for Vermont to catch up.”

Scott said he hoped the Legislature would revisit the bill with his input to use the state’s clean water plan as a model for work on climate change.

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