Governor Jim Douglas today reaffirmed Vermont s role as a leading voice on national climate policy and a champion of energy consumers by signing on to the newly formed 30-state Governors Climate Coalition, which will work with Congress to find common ground for a comprehensive national energy strategy and climate change action.The Governor, who takes over chairmanship of the National Governors Association in July, praised the gamut of states from across that country who signed on to the Coalition. These states have been leaders on the green front promoting renewable and clean energy, creating jobs and taking concrete steps to address climate change, the Governor said. The Governors Climate Coalition is in an important position to assist the federal government as it builds out a national energy policy that creates jobs and protects consumers and the environment. For too long the states like Vermont have had to fill the void left by federal in-action on national climate policy, Douglas said.Vermont was the first state in the nation to sign on to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the first state to mandate that revenue from the sale of its carbon emission allowances be used to improve energy efficiency and benefit consumers. I will be working to ensure that any federal legislation enacted is consistent with our RGGI goals and doesn t negatively impact states like Vermont, the Governor said. Vermont is the greenest state in the nation and we enjoy some of the lowest power rates in the region. To the extent possible, a cap and trade system should recognize and reward the effort of Vermont consumers who have achieved the lowest carbon footprint in the nation, the Governor said. Likewise, promoting efficiency is a winning path to job creation, cost savings and helps make Vermonters lives more affordable, the Governor added. In the end, a successful comprehensive energy strategy will have to reflect states needs and efforts while guiding a national course that protects the environment, industry and consumers.Coalition governors agreed on two underlying tenets which Douglas said will help guide the national debate over the proposed Waxman-Markey legislation now before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. Attached is the Governor s Climate Coalition statement of principles.Founding Coalition states and territories include: Vermont, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Guam, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.Source: Governor’s Office.
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