Winooski, VT — James Ehlers became the first candidate in the Vermont governor’s race to sign on to the “no new fossil fuels” pledge from the Upper Valley Affinity Group, a grassroots climate justice activist organization. Ehlers stated that as governor, he would seek to pass legislation, already supported by 30 Vermont towns, to prohibit the building of new fossil fuel infrastructure. Though Vermont has identified the goal of reducing emissions below the 1990 baseline by 50% by 2028, the state has actually increased emissions by 16% since 1990 according to the DEC’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Update.
Ehlers said, “Climate change is an urgent emergency. We see it all around us in the forest fires, floods and dangerous temperatures. We need immediate bold action to prevent dirty fossil fuel infrastructure from getting built and instead to transition to green energy so we can meet our goals. But instead, we are going in the wrong direction. Vermonters have known for years the destruction wreaked on environment from fossil fuel emissions: mercury contamination of our fisheries, the acidification of our ponds, and damage to our maple forests, to speak nothing of the cataclysmic impacts of a warming climate. Our old ways of doing things aren’t working, but we can find new ones together. Vermont needs to lead on fighting climate change.”
Geoffrey Gardner of the Upper Valley Affinity Group said, “Catastrophic climate change is the greatest environmental challenge we face worldwide, and it’s one of the biggest challenges of any kind right here in Vermont. And yet, beyond vague goals for moving away from fossil fuel dependence and a few less than halfway measures for mitigating ongoing climate damage, Vermont’s government has done little to none of the real work to move away from obsolete energy systems and to renewable and sustainable sources of energy. As the Town Meeting Day resolutions passed by thirty Vermont towns earlier this year recognized, legislation to prohibit all new fossil fuel infrastructure is the clearest and most decisive way for our state government to commit —for real and for good— to this transition.
“We applaud James Ehlers for being the first candidate for Governor to declare support for No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure legislation by signing the citizens petition urging the legislature to pass an NNFFI bill next session. By this bold action, James Ehlers has taken the lead in moving this critical issue to the center of debate. We’re eager to learn James’ proposals for how we can begin to move to renewables for all Vermonters right now and as we leave new fossil fuel infrastructure behind once and for all.”
For the past five years the Upper Valley Affinity Group has participated in and helped to lead on a broad range of environmental, energy, climate and climate justice issues. The group is a familiar presence —educating, advocating and taking action— at forums, in hearing rooms and on the streets and roads all around the state.
James Ehlers is the Executive Director of renowned water quality nonprofit Lake Champlain International (LCI) and a public and environmental health advocate with a decades-long commitment to progressive policies that help all communities thrive. Ehlers has been an advisor to U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders on the environment and veterans issues. Since 1999, he has served as Executive Director of LCI, where he has been recognized with awards for his leadership from numerous organizations, from the United States EPA to Green Mountain Power to local community groups.
JOIN JAMES AND SIGN THE PETITION: http://bit.ly/2mH5CRz