Friday, April 20, 2007

Open Letter: 2007 Vermont Legislative Session

Dear Representatives and Senators,

I am writing today to express my hope that you will strongly support efforts in the Vermont legislature to address the important and potentially catastrophic issues of Global Warming and Peak Oil. Though the two issues are different in focus, they both have to do with the over-use of fossil fuels by industrial nations such as the United States. While actions by Vermont alone will do very little in and of themselves to reduce global fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions, strong leadership by our wonderful state could allow other states and countries to follow, and is the moral thing to do regardless of actions elsewhere.

Below is a non-comprehensive list of policies I hope you pursue in the legislature this year.

Electricity Generation and Transmission

  • Encourage building of large-scale wind generation projects by reducing regulation
  • Support the license renewal of Vermont Yankee as a state policy
  • Support programs encouraging the development of a “smart” electrical grid which would allow for time-of-day pricing, and appliances that could communicate with this grid

Household Conservation

  • Enact requirements that new homes meet the highest standard for energy efficiency
  • Support programs for weatherization of older homes through loans and grants
  • Support programs for re-purchasing old and inefficient refrigerators

Transportation Conservation

  • Enact a graduated annual vehicle registration fee based on fuel consumption or engine displacement on both light and medium duty vehicles (up to 11,000 lbs)
  • Relax pollution standards on automotive diesel engines under 2.0L in displacement from California to Federal standards
  • Provide further support for the freight rail network through funding of capital projects which resolve speed, clearance, and weight issues, and which help develop more intermodal terminals

Land Use Planning

  • Enact policies that further discourage the conversion of cropland to residential developments

Please contact me if you have any questions about the important issues of Global Warming or Peak Oil. I look forward to seeing concrete progress from Montpelier this year.

Thank you for your time.

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