Vermont governor vetoes bill requiring utilities to source all renewable energy by 2035

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont’s governor vetoed on Thursday a bill that would have required state utilities to source all renewable energy by 2035, saying it would be too costly for ratepayers.

Under the legislation, the biggest utilities would need to meet the goal by 2030. If the bill had been enacted into law, Vermont would have become the second state with such an ambitious timeline.

“I don’t believe there is any debate that H.289 will raise Vermonters’ utility rates, likely by hundreds of millions of dollars,” Republican Gov. Phil Scott wrote in his veto message to the Legislature.

Vermont utilities currently are required to buy 75% renewable energy by 2032.

The legislature could overturn the governor’s veto when they gather for a special session next month.

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Baruth, a Democrat, said in a statement that Scott and his party “are an automatic ‘no’ on any policy that will move the needle on fossil fuel dependence.”

“It’s a shameful dynamic, especially in a world where our state capital still lacks a functioning US post office due to persistent, climate-related flooding,” he said.

Scott has said the Democratic-controlled Legislature is out of balance. He said Wednesday at his weekly press conference that lawmakers sometimes focus so much on their goals that they “don’t consider the unintended consequences” and “some bills end up doing more harm than good.”

While he said he shares many of the same priorities as the Legislature, they differ on how to accomplish the goals.

“I would rather come to agreement before a bill comes to my desk and avoid a veto altogether,” he said.

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