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Governor Supports Regional Carbon Tax To Combat Climate Change

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VPR/Bob Kinzel
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Governor Peter Shumlin speaks to reporters on Wednesday

Gov. Peter Shumlin is calling for a regional approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including a potential tax on carbon fuels  

Shumlin was in Washington, D.C. this week meeting with other governors and local officials to discuss the threat of climate change.

The governor says he believes this is an issue that policy-makers need to deal with immediately, before the situation gets out of control.

"I guess the word I would use, not just for Vermont but for the country, is 'urgency,' urgency on all fronts" - Gov. Peter Shumlin

“I guess the word I would use, not just for Vermont, but for the country is 'urgency,' urgency on all fronts,” said Shumlin. “And I think sometimes we forget that our window to actually get something done here so that our kids and grandkids have a bright future is closing in on us, it’s getting smaller.”

Shumlin says roughly half of Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions come from cars and trucks. That’s why he says the Northeast states have agreed to put more than three million zero emission vehicles on the road by 2025.

He also thinks a regional carbon tax would be very effective in reducing the use of carbon fuels.

“Vermont can’t do a carbon tax in isolation. However, it is shortsighted and irresponsible to continue to burn carbon and not pay for it when we burn it,” said Shumlin. “So I would love to see a national approach to that issue, if not national, regional.”

Shumlin says the governors of eight Northeast and mid-Atlantic states this week petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to require states in the Midwest and South to adopt the same air pollution regulations that are in place in this part of the country.

“To finally put an end to the extraordinary economic and health and environmental challenges that we’re facing as we remain the tailpipe to the Midwest and Southern states as they burn coal and other dirty fuels,” Shumlin said.

The governor is also calling on the federal government to streamline its disaster recovery funding rules. And he wants federal officials to focus more closely on prevention programs.

The governor says this will ensure that infrastructure projects that are destroyed by a storm are rebuilt with greater capacity to withstand larger weather events triggered by climate change.