No Progress on Reducing Greenhouse Gas, Groups Say

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(Host) A coalition of environmental groups blames the Douglas Administration for not following through on commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions in Vermont. But Governor Jim Douglas has fired back at the critics. He says the report is a political document that’s designed to make him look bad in an election year.

VPR’s John Dillon reports.

(Dillon) Four years ago, New England governors and eastern Canadian premiers agreed to take several steps to reduce global warming. The short-term goal was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in each state or province to 1990 levels by 2010.

A coalition of regional groups looked at the progress to date, and says Vermont isn’t making the grade. Azur Moulaert works for the Vermont Public Interest Group, which assessed the state’s performance.

(Moulaert) “Back in 2003, Governor Douglas committed to eight different things to curb climate change and global warming gases and he hasn’t done it. He hasn’t done that work.”

(Dillon) The report says state government has done a good job of improving energy efficiency in state buildings and cutting its own production of greenhouse gases. But it says much more needs to be done on energy conservation and to reduce pollution from transportation.

Governor Jim Douglas said the criticism is unfounded.

(Douglas) “I think it’s bogus, to be perfectly honest.

(Dillon) Douglas says he remains committed to Vermont’s role in curbing global warming. He says the state has made progress in cutting emissions from its vehicle fleet, for example.”

(Douglas) I feel very good about the initiatives we’ve taken and frankly my reaction was that it’s just a political document in an election year and not at all founded in fact.”

(Dillon) But VPIRG advocate Azur Moulaert says the report was not intended to embarrass the governor politically.

(Moulaert) “The goal is to reduce greenhouse gases not to get politicians out of office.”

(Dillon) Moulaert says the state doesn’t have a plan to develop a comprehensive greenhouse gas inventory. He says that’s a fundamental first step to effectively reduce global warming pollution.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon in Montpelier.

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