Incoming Climate Regulation Update
Sunday, July 17, 2022
Section: Legislative Update

AGC/VT and other groups have been tracking multiple new rules that state agencies have presented to reduce fossil fuel emissions to attempt to achieve the standards set out by the Global Warming Solutions Act which passed the legislature in 2020. Several legislative actions were either vetoed or did not have the votes to pass last session including the Clean Heat Standard which would have increased heating prices on Vermonters who are already feeling the effects of inflation.

One set of rules which were in process following past legislative action are the expansion of the Residential and Commercial Building Energy Standards (CBES and RBES). AGC/VTs Matt Musgrave was invited to and participated in several months of stakeholder meetings with people from industry and environmental groups. The process is another step towards a legislative goal of producing Net Zero energy building by the year 2030 and requires steps every three years towards the goal. The group led by Energy Futures of Vermont ultimately produced a new set of standards that would then be presented to the Public Utility Commission who would introduce it to rule making committees the Interagency Committee on Administrative Rules (ICAR) and the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (ICAR). Some stakeholders in the group either attempted to push the rules immediately towards the 2030 standard and some opposed any changes. AGC/VTs input and others helped identify reasonable steps forward to avoid “sticker shock” in an already challenged building materials market. Although the steps are reasonable, they will in fact increase the cost of materials and labor of projects once the policies are in place. The next step is the rule making process.

Significantly more impactful to Vermonters is a rule that has been introduced by the Agency of Natural Resources to follow California’s new law that rapidly phases out petroleum fueled automobiles and trucks. The rule which AGC/VT and Vermont Fuel Dealers Association are reviewing to identify immediate impacts to members has been presented to ICAR in a brief meeting Monday, July 11 which has led to a special meeting scheduled for July 20. The policy which was crafted by ANR with association with the Vermont Climate Council which was enacted through the Global Warming Solutions Act is not likely to be changed in process but may be impacted by recent Supreme Court rulings on energy policies.

We will continue to keep you updated on these policies as more information becomes available. If you have questions about any of these policies, please contact Matt Musgrave and if you have concerns please let us or your elected representatives (or candidates for office) know.