Legislation that opens the state of Vermont up to lawsuits if it doesn’t reduce carbon emissions passed by a vote of 105 to 37 on Thursday. The “Global Warming Solutions” proposal will spend just shy of a $1 million over the next two years designing a “Climate Action Plan.” The legislation mandates a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions: 26% by 2025, 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. Failure to comply would allow anyone to sue the state of Vermont.While the Scott administration asked lawmakers to push back by 25 years the date the state could be sued, that request was denied. The measure creates a regulatory authority called the Vermont Climate Council which could propose bans or fees on the combustion of the fuels needed for transportation and heating. The 22 member Climate Council includes one member representing the fuel industry.
Rebate Program Launch
The Vermont Rebate Program is back in 2020. VFDA, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA), oilheat providers and heating service companies are working collaboratively to make sure all tanks are inspected before the August 15, 2020 deadline. While the goal is to make sure Vermonters repair or replace tanks that are not safe to fill, the inspection program also provides an opportunity for heating service companies to check the heating equipment and make sure boilers and furnaces are cleaned and tuned.
“This partnership will continue to make sure fuel arrives safely and is used efficiently,” said VFDA Executive Director Matt Cota.
Vermonters are heating safely with fuel oil thanks to two different incentive programs. The first is the assistance program offered through the Agency of Natural Resources with funding from the Vermont Petroleum Cleanup Fund. The state run program offers financial help to residential tank owners if they meet certain income criteria. The second program is offered through VFDA and provides a $250 rebate to any Vermonter who replaces a non-compliant tank with a new tank. Since 2018, the VFDA Tank Rebate Program has distributed more than $200,000 which has helped replace over 800 fuel oil tanks in Vermont.
VFDA Members can click here to download low cost and no cost consumer education and compliance materials, including free rebate forms to send to your customers that need a new tank.Dealer Registry
VFDA Executive Director Matt Cota testified this week in the Senate Finance Committee on legislation (S.277) that requires every heating fuel dealer to register with the Department of Public Service, as well as report total gallons and sales by county. Cota urged the committee to not pass the bill as written. Cota pointed out that this information is collected on the 25th of the month by the Tax Department and that information on sales should remain confidential.
Weight a Minute
you have a delivery truck anywhere other than the interstate, state
highways, or class 1 Town Highways, you most likely need a permit. Right
now this is done by each individual town. Since most town roads are
limited to 24,000 pounds, every fuel company should determine which
towns they need to apply. Fuel trucks can get an exemption for $5 (or
$10 for an entire fleet) through an annual permit. These permits must be filed before March 31 every year in every town that requires them. If you don’t have a permit, you could be liable for thousands of dollars in fines. Go to vermontfuel.com/weight for a list of towns that require permitting, where to apply, and to download a permit form.
How Cold Is It?
3437 heating degree days have been recorded outside VFDA’s office since December 1. That’s about 6% less than normal, and 9% less than last winter. 5364 heating degrees days have been recorded in Montpelier since July 1. That’s about 3% less than normal, and 6% less than last year.
News of Note
Vermont oil tank rebate program launched Thursday.
Vermont’s greenhouse gas pollution went down slightly in 2016 for the first time in five years, per the latest available data put out earlier this month.
Vermont considers requiring discounts for low-income electric ratepayers.
Liquid biofuel use could decrease transportation gases.
Local fuel dealers give heat for Valentine’s Day.
Senators consider requiring utilities to buy more local renewables.
Development, parking issues animate South Burlington city council race.
Survey finds Vermonters oppose higher gas tax to reduce carbon emissions.
Go to vermontfuel.com/crash to read the latest incident report from the Vermont Commerical Vehicle Enforcement Unit.
News from Washington
The U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of Drug and Alcohol, has once again issued a clarification of the agency’s CDL drug and alcohol policy concerning state legalization of medical marijuana, hemp, CBD oil or recreation marijuana. Click here to read. Federal law does not recognize the legalized status of these products. Last year, the DOT warned CDL drivers that the use of state legalized marijuana, medical marijuana, hemp and CBD oil will result in a positive drug test regardless of state legal status. The DOT issued this second clarification because the occurrence of positive drug test results for drivers using these products is increasing.
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