If the extreme recent weather, from massive snow dumps to tropical storms and historic flooding, isn’t making it clear, it should: we must acknowledge the incontrovertible truth of climate change. The time is now for dealing with our energy future. Our work over the past four years has brought us closer to securing our future energy sources, but we are still falling short. From conservation to renewable energy, I support promoting (and subsidizing when necessary) any and every viable way we can to lessen our reliance on the heavily subsidized carbon and nuclear energy we currently use. Renewables may never completely replace conventional sources, but by increasing the every day energy loads with clean energy, we will be able to promote Vermont as a stable, affordable and worthwhile place to do business.
Skyrocketing energy prices threaten everyone in Vermont, from the weakest and poorest among us to the largest business. High oil prices affect everything from the pavement we lay down to the trucks that pour it. While the Vermont Legislature cannot change the prices of world-wide commodities, we must be prepared to deal with the potential impacts here across the state, and for us here in the towns of this district.
We can do better with what we have. We can promote energy conservation at every level, and make it easier for homeowners to reduce heating costs by improving our existing housing stock. It starts with changing a light bulb, but we must go forward from there – to building energy audits and high-quality insulation, to supporting and growing the use of public transportation and making tele-commuting a real option for workers and employers.
Our recent record on some of these measures is uneven, and I will continue to advocate for legislative support of all of them, especially those that will provide financial relief to middle and low income families.