Douglas wants hold on global warming bill revision

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(Host) Governor Jim Douglas says lawmakers should wait until next January to pass a revised global warming bill.

It’s very likely that the governor will veto a new bill because it includes a tax on the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant.

Meanwhile House Speaker Gaye Symington is asking the public to urge the governor to sign the bill.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) The Global warming legislation basically has two distinct parts.

The first section, developed by the House, calls for the state to place a greater emphasis on the development of in-state renewable energy sources over the next 10 years.

Meanwhile the Senate focused on a plan to reduce overall energy use through an expansion of the state’s efficiency programs. This expansion was to be funded, in part, through a tax on power generated at Vermont Yankee.

But the Governor says this tax is unfair and sends a terrible message to the state’s business community. It’s very likely that he’ll veto it when it arrives on his desk.

Douglas says he strongly supports the renewable energy plan developed in the House and he hopes it will be the framework for a new bill:

(Douglas) “So I look forward to working with the Legislature to come up with a bill that has the positive elements of H 520 and can help Vermont move forward to a more secure energy future.”

(Kinzel) If the governor vetoes any bills, lawmakers are scheduled to return to the State House in a special veto session on July 11th. Douglas doesn’t think that’s the time to rewrite this legislation:

(Douglas) “I think it’s difficult to fashion a bill in a single day and I certainly don’t want a veto session to go on longer than a day. So it’s probably something we’ll have to work on between now and January.”

(Kinzel) House Speaker Gaye Symington strongly supports the bill and she’s counting on public opinion to persuade the governor to sign it:

(Symington) “I’m hopeful that Vermonters will join us in conveying to the governor that this bill matters it matters in terms of economic development opportunity. It matters in terms of savings Vermonters money.”

(Kinzel) Symington says the expansion of energy efficiency programs is a critical part of the bill.

(Symington) “We have had a very successful energy efficiency utility that has helped primarily our business community to save money. We now want to take a step to advance that into all fuels so that we can provide the same benefits to average Vermonters. If we want to make impact on affordability for Vermonters we need to pass this bill.”

(Kinzel) It may take the governor a week or two to formally veto the bill. That’s because the legislation has to be officially delivered to his office and then be reviewed by his legal staff.

For VPR News I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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