in the State House of Representatives
on May 10, 2022, by a vote of
(needed 100 votes to override veto)
Purpose: The underlying bill creates the Clean Heat Standard (CHS), with the general purpose of creating a carbon tax on heating fuels.
The CHS is one of the central components of the Climate Action Plan (CAP), drafted by unelected renewable energy advocates. The Clean Heat Standard authorizes Vermont’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to create a market for “clean heat credits,” set to go online in 2024. These credits can be generated by any Vermont company or individual weatherizing businesses and homes, or through replacing fossil fuel appliances with renewable-powered heating appliances, with the price set annually by the PUC each year. If heating fuel sellers do not create enough credits themselves through such installations, they must purchase credits generated by others on a marketplace to stay in business.
Example: Whenever a heating fuel supplier sells a gallon of heating oil to a customer in Year 1, that gallon generates an obligation for Year 2. In Year 2, the fuel seller can choose to fulfill their obligation by installing weatherization and renewable heating appliances. Or, by purchasing clean heat credits from other installers on the CHS market.
H.715 as amended obligates the PUC to design the Clean Heat Standard program, and then submit its initial plan for approval by the Legislature in 2023 and its final plan in 2024. This amended version of H.715 allocates $1.2 million to create and the study the Clean Heat Standard's impact on Vermont.
Analysis: Those voting YES believe the Clean Heat Standard will greatly help Vermont achieve its GWSA 2025 & 2030 greenhouse gas reduction mandates, and give Vermont the moral authority to do its part fighting climate change, saving Vermonters from paying high heating fuel prices, while bolstering a renewable industry with more jobs. All of those voting YES trust the PUC to implement the Clean Heat Standard without needing further legislative approval, having voted down an amendment requiring legislative approval after design has been completed.
Those voting NO believe the Clean Heat Standard would lead to extreme hardship for many of the 200,000 households who use some form of fossil fuel to heat their home (about 3 in 4 of all Vermont households). For some, heating fuel would become more expensive, as heating fuel providers pass on some of the added cost of clean heat credits to their customers. For others, heating their homes would become impossible, because the only fossil fuel providers servicing their area will have gone out of business after not being able to afford clean heat credits.
A few 'lucky' households will have the privilege of paying top dollar to appliance installers so they aren’t left in the cold. However, committee testimony suggests there aren’t enough installers to cover government-manufactured demand for such appliances. Worse still, testimony also suggests many renewable heating appliances are do not provide adequate heating during the coldest winter months. There are about 100 fossil fuel providers in Vermont. A few large providers like Vermont Gas can capitalize on H.715, by earning credits through installations and by having the flexibility to charge higher prices once their competition succumbs to the CHS.
As Recorded in the House Journal, for Tuesday, May 11, 2022: “Pursuant to Chapter II, Section 11, of the Vermont Constitution, the Clerk proceeded to call the roll and the question, Shall the bill pass, notwithstanding the Governor's refusal to approve the bill?, was decided in the negative. Yeas, 99. Nays, 51.” (Read the Journal, p. 2107 - 2110)
Roll Call! House Passes Underpowered 'Check Back' for Delaying Clean Heat Standard (88-37), 2022
Roll Call! Senate 'Check Back' Delays Clean Heat Standard Until Costs Are Known (23-7), 2022
Joint Fiscal Office's Note on H.715
Heating Fuel used by Vermont Households (American Community Survey)
How They Voted
(Click on your Rep’s name to send an email)
Sally Achey (R - Middletown Springs) – NO
Paul Lefebvre (R – Newark) – NO