Vermont poised to become first state to charge big oil for climate damage

Vermont poised to become first state to charge big oil for climate damage

The Guardian reports:

Vermont is poised to pass a groundbreaking measure forcing major polluting companies to help pay for damages caused by the climate crisis, in a move being closely watched by other states including New York and California.

Modeled after the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program, which forces companies to pay for toxic waste cleanup, the climate superfund bill would charge major fossil fuel companies doing business within the state billions of dollars for their past emissions.

The measure would make Vermont the first US state to hold fossil fuel companies liable for their planet-heating pollution.

“If you contributed to a mess, you should play a role in cleaning it up,” Elena Mihaly, vice-president of the Conservation Law Foundation’s Vermont chapter, which is campaigning for the bill, said in an interview.

If passed, the bill will face a steep uphill battle in the courts. But supporters say the first-of-its-kind legislation could be a model for the rest of the country.

Four other states are weighing similar initiatives. Senators Bernie Sanders from Vermont and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland also attempted to include a federal version in the infrastructure bill passed in 2022, though it was omitted from the final draft. (The measure would have raised $500bn.)

Advocates for the Vermont bill notched a major win on Friday when the state’s house of representatives advanced the measure with a preliminary vote of 100-33 – enough support to overcome a potential veto by the state’s Republican governor, Phil Scott. On Monday, the bill passed the House in a 94-38 vote. [Continue reading…]

Comments are closed.