Introduced by Representative Deen of Westminster
Subject: Conservation; climate change
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to establish a 12‑person legislative commission on global climate change. The commission shall be charged with examining issues related to climate change; the science on the subject; actions taken by other states and the federal government; the effect of local emissions; an evaluation of economic opportunities that may result from state action on climate change and the emerging carbon market; the potential impacts on the citizens, the natural resources, and the economy of the state; and the costs to be incurred because of state action on climate change. If the commission determines it appropriate, it may develop a recommended global warming pollutant reduction goal for the state. The commission may work with other organizations to organize a forum on climate change. The commission shall be entitled to the services of the agency of natural resources and the assistance of legislative staff and shall issue a report to the general assembly before November 1 of each year.
AN ACT RELATING TO ESTABLISHING A LEGISLATIVE COMMISSION ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 10 V.S.A. § 578 is added to read:
§ 578. LEGISLATIVE COMMISSION ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE
(a) The legislative commission on global climate change is hereby established. The commission shall consist of 12 members as follows:
(1) Two members appointed by the president pro tempore of the senate.
(2) Two members appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives.
(3) One member, appointed by the governor, to represent electric power companies.
(4) One member, appointed by the governor, to represent business interests.
(5) One member, appointed by the governor, to represent agricultural and forestry interests.
(6) One member, appointed by the governor, to represent environmental interests.
(7) The dean of the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont or the dean’s designee.
(8) The dean of the University of Vermont College of Agriculture and Life Sciences or the dean’s designee.
(9) The director of the Environmental Law Center at the Vermont Law School or the director’s designee.
(10) A representative of the agency of natural resources, appointed by the secretary of natural resources.
(b) The commission shall have two co-chairs, one designated by the president pro tempore of the senate and one designated by the speaker of the house of representatives from among their respective appointees. The commission shall meet upon the call of the co-chairs.
(c) Any vacancy on the commission shall be filled by the original appointing authority.
(d) The commission shall have the following purposes and duties:
(1) The commission shall conduct an in‑depth examination of issues related to global climate change. This examination shall include all of the following:
(A) A review of current scientific literature on the possible natural and anthropogenic causes of global climate change.
(B) A review of actions taken by the federal government and by other states to address global warming.
(C) An examination of the emissions of greenhouse gases from within the state, and the extent to which reductions in the emissions of these gases in the state, region, and nation, and worldwide could be expected to affect global climate change.
(D) An evaluation of the economic opportunities for the state that may result from international, national, and state action to address global climate change and the emerging carbon market.
(E) The potential impacts of global climate change on the citizens, natural resources, and economy of the state, including agriculture, travel and tourism, recreation, real estate, insurance, and other economic sectors.
(F) With respect to any action taken by the state to address global climate change, the costs to be incurred by individuals, individual households, local governments, businesses, educational institutions, agricultural operations, the state government, and other institutions and economic sectors.
(2) If, in the course of its examination, the commission determines that it would be appropriate and desirable for the state to establish a global warming pollutant reduction goal, the commission may develop a recommended global warming pollutant reduction goal for the state.
(3) In conducting its examination of global climate change, the commission shall consider the development and implementation of standards and plans to control emissions of carbon dioxide.
(4) Based on its examination of global climate change, the commission shall develop findings and recommendations, including any legislative proposals it determines to be appropriate, for consideration by the general assembly.
(f) The commission may work cooperatively with other state and national governments to organize a forum on global climate change, including its causes, impacts, challenges, and opportunities in the northeastern United States. The commission may also work cooperatively with the governor’s commission on climate change and with other state agencies with respect to the agencies’ areas of responsibilities regarding greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
(g) Members of the commission shall receive per diem and actual and necessary expenses in accordance with 32 V.S.A. § 1010.
(h) The commission shall be entitled to staff support, technical advice, and research, as requested, from the agency of natural resources. It also shall be entitled to the assistance of the legislative council and the joint fiscal office and may request and obtain the assistance of other state agencies.
(i) The commission may hire consultants to assist with the study, in accordance with appropriations for these purposes.
(j) The commission shall report its findings and recommendations to the general assembly on or before November 1 of each year.
Sec. 2. EFFECTIVE DATE
This act shall take effect upon passage.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street