Amy Sheldon honored with 'Climate Champion' award

BURLINGTON — Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) honored two dozen Vermont House legislators Dec. 6,  as “Climate Champions” for their efforts to grow the economy and create green jobs by putting a price on carbon pollution.

“Vermont spends nearly $2 billion each year on fossil fuels and most of that money leaves our local economy and goes right out of the state,” said Jane Campbell, VBSR’s executive director. “VBSR is delighted to honor these legislators for recognizing that keeping more of our energy spending here in Vermont is a major economic development opportunity.”

Rep. Amy Sheldon of East Middlebury was among the award winners.

“Putting a price on carbon pollution and directing revenue into diverse, local, clean energy will provide a solid foundation for growing Vermont’s economy,” Sheldon, a Democrat, said. “By taking control of our energy future, we can set an example for the rest of the country, help reduce the effects of climate change, build resilience in our communities and demonstrate that doing the right thing is also good for business.”

Recognizing that market forces can be an effective tool in moving the economy to cleaner technologies, VBSR has called for pricing carbon pollution for more than two decades. VBSR business members recently collaborated with members of the social services community to draft the ESSEX Plan, which phases in a carbon price over eight years and use the proceeds to reduce the cost of electricity in Vermont.

“Vermonters know that we must act now to reduce dangerous carbon pollution or it will it lead to irreversible impacts for our economy, our health and our food and water supplies,” said Jen Kimmich, co-owner of The Alchemist in Stowe. “We have set ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, but over the past five years these emissions have increased. It is time for us to take this positive action, which will increase Vermont’s prosperity as it helps us improve the environmental, business and human health of our state.”

VBSR traditionally gives a Legislator of the Year award, but this year opted to give the special Climate Champion award to Vermont legislators. VBSR Public Policy Manager Daniel Barlow said that President Trump’s decision this year to exit the Paris Climate Agreement sparked serious concerns in the business community and has spurred renewed attention to the important issue of fighting climate change.

“We can’t rely on Washington, D.C., to take action on climate change,” Barlow said. “Vermont can show the rest of the country that moving off of fossil fuels grows the economy and creates new jobs. We thought it was important to recognize these forward-looking Vermont legislators who support putting a price on carbon pollution.”

VBSR presented the awards at the organization’s annual Legislative Breakfast in Burlington. The business group also unveiled it’s 2018 legislative agenda, which includes putting a price on carbon pollution, reforming the state’s broken health care system, and changing the state’s independent contractor regulations.


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