Letter: Environmental bills send a strong message

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To the Editor:

I would like to comment on Don Keelan's June 14 column about the 2019 Legislative session and make the case for Vermont moving toward a green economy. While bills for several pressing issues were not completed, I would not call the 2019 session, "regrettable."

Mr. Keelan disparages S.113, the ban of single use plastic bags, Styrofoam food and drink containers, but states in the same paragraph that the time addressing this bill would have been better spent discussing Vermont's youth flight.

If we care about the out-migration of Vermont's youth, we need to care about the issues that youth care about. We need only look at the March 15, 2019 protest, when approximately 1.6 million students around the world left school to protest adult inaction on climate change, (Time.com 3/2019) to know that youth care passionately about the environment. The 2019 Environment Bills, (for pollinator protection, home weatherization, electric vehicle incentives, clean water funding, and the single use plastic ban), send a strong message demonstrating Vermont's commitment to environmental responsibility.

However, we need to go further. A Vermont Green Bank initiative in 2014-2016 failed to build political support, although the Green Bank of Connecticut was established in 2011. A Huffington Post Article "A Bold Proposal To Unleash Americas's Green Economy," (6/22/17) reported that The Connecticut Green Bank generated an average of $6 of private investment in clean-energy products for every public dollar, leading to the creation of nearly 13,000 jobs since 2011. Between 2011 and 2017, the bank put approximately $1 billion for sustainable energy production into Connecticut's state economy and The Connecticut Green Bank Impact Report for the calendar year ending in 2018, now puts that investment at $1.5 billion.

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In contrast, Governor Scott reported in a 2017 news conference that between 2010 and 2016, Vermont lost an average of 2,300 jobs per year, representing fewer people paying taxes.

Let's do something `remarkable' promoting transformation toward a green economy for all Vermonters. Let's expand our economy and create career opportunity for our residents.

This will attract investment and quality businesses for those seeking renewable energy options, bringing more families to our state and reversing youth flight.

Susan Levitin,



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