24 Vermont towns to vote on climate change measure

MIDDLESEX, Vt. (WCAX) About two dozen towns will consider resolutions this Town Meeting Day that urge action on climate change. It’s a continued effort to urge more action on the issue at the local level.

Middlesex is among the two dozen towns with climate change resolutions this Town Meeting Day, but it’s unclear how much impact it will have on actual policy.

“They hustled at the last very last minute. They got it in at 4:59 on the day it was due,” said Middlesex Town Clerk Sarah Merriman. She says it was Middlesex residents who worked to gather the needed signatures. “My guess is that there’s native support, so to speak. It’s not from an outside group. It’s from people in Middlesex, so I assume there’s going to be some interesting discussion.”

The effort around the state is led by the Vermont-based environmental group 350-Vermont. Nearly 40 towns considered resolutions last year and all of them passed.

Jared Duval with Energy Action Network says Vermonters are more aware of the action needed to meet the state’s energy goals. “I think these resolutions are indicative of the fact that most Vermonters know that we are far off the pace of what would be necessary to meet our responsibility,” he said.

The resolutions call for more action on climate change at the local level but they’re non-binding

“I think the problem with resolutions like this always is, what’s the point? What does it really do besides raise awareness?” Merriman said.

Ryan Geary runs the The Hive art gallery in Middlesex. He hopes the resolutions will eventually lead to policy changes. “I think anything at this point that is moving us toward sustainable energy, and cutting carbon emissions I would support,” Geary said.

Merriman says she worries that such debates are a turn off for some voters who have other concerns on their mind. “Are you going to turn off people from going to future town meetings? Are they gonna say, ‘I don’t want to be in a big debate over something that doesn’t personally affect me today, as opposed to, ‘How come we’re over our sand budget by triple?'” she said.

So far, such resolutions haven’t spurred major action at the state level — yet.

Link to the original WCAX Story.

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