Introduced by Representatives Maier of Middlebury, Clarkson of Woodstock, Darrow of Dummerston, Deen of Westminster, Donahue of Northfield, Donovan of Burlington, Edwards of Brattleboro, Emmons of Springfield, Fisher of Lincoln, French of Randolph, Grad of Moretown, Hutchinson of Randolph, Jewett of Ripton, Kiss of Burlington, Klein of East Montpelier, Martin of Springfield, Masland of Thetford, McCullough of Williston, Minter of Waterbury, Nuovo of Middlebury, Pellett of Chester, Seibert of Norwich, Sharpe of Bristol, Sweaney of Windsor and Zuckerman of Burlington
Subject: Executive; conservation; greenhouse gas
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to establish goals of greenhouse gas reduction to the 1990 level of emissions by 2010, and to levels 10 percent below the 1990 levels by 2020. The bill proposes to establish a Vermont climate crisis action commission charged with developing a comprehensive climate change action plan and submitting it to the appropriate committees of the general assembly by no later than January 1, 2006. By no later than January 1, 2008, the commission shall develop an updated plan and shall submit it to specified committees of the general assembly. On an annual basis, the secretary of natural resources shall report on the progress made in achieving the goals and the appropriateness of the plans in achieving the goals. The bill also proposes to establish a greenhouse gas registry and encourage development and participation in a regional reporting system. The bill requires certain regulated emitters to report direct stack emissions of greenhouse gases. On an annual basis, the secretary of natural resources is required to consider expanding the scope of reporting requirements and to take appropriate action, which may include adopting a rule to expand those requirements. The bill proposes to require the development of a state government analytical capacity to compare alternatives and guide state decisions with respect to the generation of greenhouse gases. In this pursuit the state is to: develop an emissions baseline, integrate climate change considerations into state programs and rules, encourage voluntary reduction efforts, assure that the state budget includes an analysis of greenhouse gas implications, evaluate the greenhouse gas impacts of legislative proposals, ascribe a cost to greenhouse gas generation in the use of life-cycle costing under the state agency energy planning process, and evaluate the potential for using agricultural and forestry practices to increase carbon sequestration. The bill proposes to amend Act 250 to require consideration of the need for continuing reductions in the generation of greenhouse gases and increases consideration of that factor in the creation and implementation of the state’s electrical energy plan and its comprehensive energy plan. The bill proposes to amend state energy policy to require that the state meet its energy service needs in a way that assures continuing and substantial reductions in the generation of greenhouse gases.
AN ACT RELATING TO ESTABLISHING THE CLIMATE CRISIS AND OPPORTUNITY ACT
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. SHORT TITLE
This act shall be referred to as the Climate Crisis and Opportunity Act.
Sec. 2. 10 V.S.A. § 552 is amended to read:
§ 552. DEFINITIONS
As used in this chapter:
* * *
(11) “Direct emissions” means emissions from sources that are owned or operated, in whole or in part, by an entity or facility, including, but not limited to, emissions from factory stacks, manufacturing processes and vents, and company owned or leased motor vehicles.
(12) “Entity” means a person that owns or operates, in whole or in part, a source of greenhouse gas emissions from a generator of electricity or a commercial or industrial site, which source may include, but not be limited to, a transportation fleet.
(13) “Facility” means a building, structure or installation located on any one or more contiguous or adjacent properties of an entity.
(14) “Greenhouse gas” means any chemical or physical substance that is emitted into the air and that the secretary may reasonably anticipate to cause or contribute to climate change, including, but not limited to, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.
(15) “Indirect emissions” means emissions associated with the consumption of purchased electricity, steam and heating or cooling by an entity or facility.
Sec. 3. 10 V.S.A. § 577, 578, and 579 are added to read:
§ 577. GREENHOUSE GAS REDUCTION GOALS; VERMONT CLIMATE
CRISIS ACTION COMMISSION
(a) General goal of greenhouse gas reduction. It is the goal of the state to reduce emissions of greenhouse gas from within the geographical boundaries of the state, in order to make an appropriate contribution to achieving the regional goals of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases:
(1) to those levels emitted in 1990, reductions to occur not later than January 1, 2010, and
(2) to levels ten percent below the 1990 levels, reductions to occur not later than January 1, 2020.
(b) Vermont climate crisis action commission. The Vermont climate crisis action commission (VCCAC) is created, to be staffed by the agency of natural resources and to consist of the following:
(1) The secretaries or designees of the agencies of natural resources, commerce and community affairs, administration, transportation, and agriculture, food and markets.
(2) The commissioner or designee of the department of public service.
(3) Representatives of the following business sectors, as appointed by a committee composed of the governor, the speaker of the house, and the president pro tempore of the senate:
(4) Representatives of the following, as appointed by a committee composed of the governor, the speaker of the house, and the president pro tempore of the senate:
(A) a natural resources advocacy group;
(B) a group that represents local government;
(C) a public transportation advocacy group;
(D) a public health advocacy group;
(E) a citizens group or interfaith group that is focused on greenhouse gas reduction;
(F) a representative of the general public.
(c) Climate change action plan. Not later than January 1, 2006, the climate crisis action commission shall seek broad public input and shall develop a multisector, comprehensive climate change action plan. The plan shall contain the policies and programs necessary to achieve the state’s goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2010 and 2020. The commission shall notify each member of the general assembly of the development of this plan and of the opportunity for public comment. Not later than January 1, 2006, the commission shall submit this plan to the committees of the general assembly having jurisdiction of matters relating to the environment, energy, transportation, and commerce.
(d) Updating climate change action plan. Not later than January 1, 2008, the commission, after seeking broad public input, shall develop an amended climate change action plan for achieving the state’s contribution towards reaching the goals established pursuant to subsection (a) of this section. The commission shall submit this plan to the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy.
(e) Annual evaluation of progress in meeting goals. Not later than December 1, 2006, and annually thereafter, the secretary, in collaboration with the secretaries of other state agencies and the Vermont climate crisis action commission, shall submit a report to the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy on the progress made in achieving the goals established in subsection (a) of this section. The report shall evaluate the appropriateness and effectiveness of the climate change action plans developed pursuant to subsections (c) and (d) of this section in achieving those goals, and shall make appropriate recommendations.
§ 578. GREENHOUSE GAS REGISTRY
(a) The secretary shall work, in conjunction with other states or a regional consortium, to establish a regional greenhouse gas registry for greenhouse gas emissions and a regional reporting system.
(b) Not later than April 15, 2006, and annually thereafter, the owner or operator of any facility that is required to report air emissions data to the secretary pursuant to Title V of the federal Clean Air Act and that has stationary emissions sources that emit greenhouse gases shall report to the regional registry the direct stack emissions of greenhouse gases from those sources. The owner or operator shall report all greenhouse gas emissions in a type and format that the regional registry can accommodate.
(c) On an annual basis, the secretary shall consider whether to adopt rules that would expand the applicability of requirements that reports be submitted to the regional greenhouse gas registry, so that those requirements are expanded to include other facilities or sectors, other greenhouse gases, or direct and indirect emissions, or any combination of these factors. Any such expansion shall take place by the adoption of a rule. A decision for or against an expansion of reporting and an explanation of that decision shall be included in the annual report required pursuant to subsection 577(e) of this title.
(d) Not later than July 1, 2006, the secretary shall provide for the voluntary reporting of emissions of greenhouse gas to the regional greenhouse gas registry by entities and facilities that are not required to submit information pursuant to subsections (b) and (c) of this section but which do so on a voluntary basis. The greenhouse gas emissions reported shall be of a type and format that the regional greenhouse gas registry can accommodate.
(e) If a regional greenhouse gas registry is not developed and implemented by April 15, 2007, the secretary shall evaluate the feasibility of establishing and administering a state-wide greenhouse gas registry for the collection of emissions data pursuant to subsections (b) and (c) of this section. If a regional greenhouse gas registry is developed after the secretary establishes a state-wide greenhouse gas registry, then the reporting requirements in subsections (b) and (c) of this section shall revert back to the regional greenhouse gas registry in accordance with subsections (b) and (c) of this section.
(f) Not later than July 1, 2006, and triennially thereafter, the secretary shall publish a state greenhouse gas emissions inventory that includes comprehensive estimates of the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions in the state for the last three years in which data is available.
(g) The secretary may adopt rules to implement the provisions of this section. Nothing in this act shall limit a state agency from adopting any rule within its authority.
§ 579. STATE ANALYTICAL CAPABILITY REGARDING
The secretary shall assure that the state has sufficient expertise to allow its agencies and other entities to make informed and responsible decisions regarding climate change. As part of this effort, the secretary, in conjunction with the secretary of administration, shall:
(1) Develop a statewide emissions baseline by which to gauge the state’s emissions trends.
(2) Undertake an assessment of the risks and opportunities facing existing and new state programs because of climate change and assist program managers to integrate climate change considerations into existing and new state programs, policies, procedures, and rules in a way that encourages continuing reductions in the greenhouse gases generated by the state itself as well as those generated by the citizens while participating in a state program.
(3) Identify, rank, and assist in the pursuit of clean energy investment and conversion opportunities, both by state government and by other greenhouse gas generators located within the state.
(4) Encourage voluntary participation by private citizens, civic groups, and other greenhouse gas generators with respect to identifying current emissions, projecting future emissions, and establishing targets for reducing emissions, particularly from manufacturing and business operations, and with respect to products manufactured or sold at retail in the state.
(5) Establish and implement a process that will enable the state budget submitted under 32 V.S.A. § 307 to include an analysis of greenhouse gas implications and impacts, wherever appropriate, and an analysis of additional resources that may be necessary to make reductions.
(6) Recommend amendments to the administrative procedures act that would enable the evaluation of the greenhouse gas impacts of administrative rule amendment or adoption and lead to reductions in the generation of greenhouse gases.
(7) Provide advice to the general assembly regarding the projected greenhouse gas impacts of legislative proposals.
(8) Establish an appropriately high value to be ascribed to the costs of greenhouse gas generation as an environmental externality, to be used in the development of life‑cycle costs, under the state agency energy plan required under 3 V.S.A. § 2291.
(9) Prepare information and recommendations with respect to the potential for carbon sequestration through the use of agricultural and forestry practices.
Sec. 4. 10 V.S.A. § 6086(a) is amended to read:
(a) Before granting a permit, the district commission shall find that the subdivision or development:
(1) Will not result in undue water or air pollution. In making this determination it shall at least consider: the elevation of land above sea level; and in relation to the flood plains, the nature of soils and subsoils and their ability to adequately support waste disposal; the slope of the land and its effect on effluents; the availability of streams for disposal of effluents; the need for continuing reductions in the generation of greenhouse gases; and the applicable health and environmental conservation department regulations.
* * *
Sec. 5. 30 V.S.A. § 202 is amended to read:
§ 202. ELECTRICAL ENERGY PLANNING
The department of public service, through the director for regulated utility
planning, shall constitute the responsible utility planning agency of the state
for the purpose of obtaining for all consumers in the state proper utility
service at minimum cost under efficient and economical management consistent
with other public policy of the state. The director shall be responsible for
the provision of plans for meeting emerging trends related to electrical energy
demand, supply, safety
and, conservation, and continuing
reductions in the generation of greenhouse gases in the production or use of
(b) The department, through the director, shall prepare an electrical energy plan for the state. The plan shall be for a 20-year period and shall serve as a basis for state electrical energy policy. The electric energy plan shall be based on the principles of “least cost integrated planning” set out in and developed under section 218c of this title. The plan shall include at a minimum:
an overview, looking
twenty 20 years ahead, of statewide growth
and development as they relate to future requirements for electrical energy,
including patterns of urban expansion, statewide and service area economic
growth, shifts in transportation modes, modifications in housing types and
design, conservation, the increasing global importance of continual
reductions in the generation of greenhouse gases, and other trends and
factors which, as determined by the director, will significantly affect state
electrical energy policy and programs;
(2) an assessment of all energy resources available to the state for electrical generation or to supply electrical power, including among others, fossil fuels, nuclear, hydro-electric, biomass, wind, fuel cells, and solar energy and strategies for minimizing the economic and environmental costs of energy supply, including the production of pollutants and greenhouse gases, by means of efficiency and emission improvements, fuel shifting, and other appropriate means;
(3) estimates of the projected level of electrical energy demand and the projected level of greenhouse gases generated as a byproduct of the generation of electrical energy;
(4) a detailed exposition, including capital requirements and the estimated cost to consumers, of how such demand shall be met, and how the generation of those greenhouse gases may be continually reduced, based on the assumptions made in subdivision (1) of this subsection and the policies set out in subsection (c) of this section; and
(5) specific strategies for reducing electric rates and for reducing the generation of greenhouse gases to the greatest extent possible in Vermont over the most immediate five-year period, for the next succeeding five-year period, and long-term sustainable strategies for achieving and maintaining the lowest possible electric rates and generation of greenhouse gases over the full 20-year planning horizon consistent with the goal of maintaining a financially stable electric utility industry in Vermont.
(c) In developing the plan, the department shall take into account the protection of public health and safety; preservation of environmental quality; the potential for reduction of rates paid by all retail electricity customers; the potential for reduction of electrical demand through conservation, including alternative utility rate structures; use of load management technologies; efficiency of electrical usage; utilization of waste heat from generation; and utility assistance to consumers in energy conservation. The department shall place a premium upon continuing reductions in the generation of greenhouse gases.
(d) In establishing plans, the director shall:
(1) Consult with:
* * *
To the extent necessary, include in the plan surveys to determine needed and
desirable plant improvements and extensions and coordination between utility
systems, joint construction of facilities by two or more utilities, methods of
operations, and any change that will produce better service
reduce costs, or reduce the generation of greenhouse gases. To this
end, the director may require the submission of data by each company subject to
supervision, of its anticipated electrical demand, including load fluctuation,
supplies, costs, the generation of greenhouse gases and its plan to meet
that demand, and those greenhouse gas reductions, together with such
other information as the director deems desirable.
* * *
(f) After adoption by the department of a final plan, any company seeking board authority to make investments, to finance, to site or construct a generation or transmission facility or to purchase electricity or rights to future electricity, shall notify the department of the proposed action and request a determination by the department whether the proposed action is consistent with the plan. In its determination whether to permit the proposed action, the board shall consider the department’s determination of its consistency with the plan along with all other factors required by law or relevant to the board’s decision on the proposed action. If the proposed action is inconsistent with the plan, the board may nevertheless authorize the proposed action if it finds that there is good cause to do so. To the extent that the inconsistency entails an excessive generation of greenhouse gases, the board may authorize the proposed action only if it finds that there is extremely good cause to do so. The department shall be a party to any proceeding on the proposed action, except that this section shall not be construed to require a hearing if not otherwise required by law.
* * *
Sec. 6. 30 V.S.A. § 202a is amended to read:
§ 202a. STATE ENERGY POLICY
It is the general policy of the state of Vermont:
assure, to the greatest extent practicable, that Vermont can meet its energy
service needs in a manner that is adequate, reliable, secure, and
sustainable; that assures affordability and encourages the state’s economic
vitality, continuing and substantial reductions in the generation of
greenhouse gases, the efficient use of energy resources and
effective cost-effective demand side management; and that is
(2) To identify and evaluate on an ongoing basis, resources that will meet Vermont’s energy service needs in accordance with the principles of least cost integrated planning; including efficiency, conservation and load management alternatives, wise use of renewable resources, continuing and substantial reductions in the generation of greenhouse gases, and environmentally sound energy supply.
Sec. 7. 30 V.S.A. § 202b(a) is amended to read:
(a) The department of public service, in conjunction with other state agencies designated by the governor, shall prepare a comprehensive state energy plan covering at least a 20-year period. The plan shall seek to implement the state energy policy set forth in section 202a of this title. The plan shall include:
(1) A comprehensive analysis and projections regarding the use, cost, supply and environmental effects of all forms of energy resources used within Vermont and regarding all greenhouse gases generated within the state.
(2) Recommendations for state implementation actions, regulation, legislation, and other public and private action to carry out the comprehensive energy plan.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street