SGA Chairs legislate to keep Vt. Clean

Last week, two Student Government chairs sponsored a resolution that addresses environmental issues in Vermont. “We’ve always had a green thumb,” said Scott McCarty, the SGA senator who co-sponsored the University’s new environmental legislature last Tuesday, adding that it’s now time for UVM to help “create a green economy.” His resolution, The Keep Vermont Clean & Clear Act, intends to do just that. The bill, introduced by McCarty and fellow senator Jesse Bragg, is the University of Vermont’s first legislative response to an important October report issued by the Governor’s Commission on Climate Change -Governor Douglas’ creation-that names UVM as a crucial environmental ally. The GCCC’s report, released on Oct. 26, proposes a few key steps towards greater environ?mental sustainability. These include reducing Vermont’s carbon emissions with more efficient technologies, and notably, strengthening the relationship between Vermont’s government, academic and private Sectors, a partnership it calls the “Vermont Climate Collaborative.” The University’s own resolution affirms UVM’s commitment to environmental stewardship, declares the SGA’s support of the GCCC’s recommendation, and calls for the University’s partnership with the state government to execute them. It also asks that the other players, namely Governor Douglas and the Vermont General Assembly, accept and carry out the GCCC’s findings “in an expedited manner.” The two student senators feel such a request is necessary given Governor Douglas’ pointed veto of Vermont State Legislature’s H.R. 520, an environmental resolution that was very similar to the recent proposals by the GCCC. Asked about the veto, Senator McCarty said “[Gov. Doug?las] really dropped the ball on this one,” criticizing what he thought was a misplaced fear to raise taxes on fossil-fuel burning companies. The SGA senators expect the governor will claim to work with the GCCC’s report and its recommendations, but remains skeptical, saying “Governor Douglas is long on poetry and short on specifics,” and adding that he would like a cabinet position addressing climate change. In closing, McCarthy said hopefully “[UVM] has so many great resources that could educate Vermont about making global climate changes. I hope the University and the state work together on this,” adding, “If we partner up, we’ll be much more likely to get something done.”