Big Oil Will Pay The State of Vermont for Climate Damages

( – Vermont is officially the very first state to hold Big Oil accountable for climate damages. The state enacted the law after the governor, Phil Scott, let the legislation pass without his signature.

The Climate Superfund Act was inspired by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program; the main goal is to charge these big oil companies millions to pay for the climate impacts brought on by its industry.

The officials of Vermont will have until 2026 to calculate the total costs to the state from greenhouse gasses that were emitted from 1995 to 2024. Using federal data they will be able to assess how much to charge each individual polluter.

“It’s not every day you get to be part of something that’s both historic and potentially game-changing for all the citizens of your state,” said Vermont Public Interest Research Group advocate Ben Edgerly Walsh.

Vermont has been one of the most vulnerable and climate-impacted states in the United States. Scott stated that he understood “the desire to seek funding to mitigate the effects of climate change that has hurt our state in so many ways.” He continued to state that he did allow the bill to pass but that he was worried about the costs that would be associated with it for their little state.

Scott wrote, “Instead of coordinating with other states like New York and California, with far more abundant resources, Vermont – one of the least populated states with the lowest GDP in the country – has decided to recover costs associated with climate change on its own,” he wrote.

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