Vermont Officials Join Nationwide Coalition to Hold Climate Polluters Accountable

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 8, 2021

Vermont Officials Join Nationwide Coalition to Hold Climate Polluters Accountable

Leaders for Climate Accountability Support Making the Fossil Fuel Industry Pay Its Fair Share of Climate Change Damages

Contact: Mike Meno, mike@climateintegrity.org

MONTPELIER, VT — Five state legislators and two municipal leaders are the first elected officials in Vermont to join Leaders for Climate Accountability, a nationwide network of public officials who support holding corporate polluters accountable for their outsized role in creating and perpetuating the climate crisis.

The network’s first members in Vermont are:

  • Senator Christopher Pearson (Chittenden)

  • Senator Andrew Perchlik (Washington)

  • Representative Brian Cina (Chittenden)

  • Representative Emma Mulvaney-Stanak (Chittenden)

  • Representative Taylor Small (Chittenden)

  • Montpelier Mayor Anne Watson

  • Burlington Councilor Jane Stromberg

The officials are joining more than 100 other Leaders for Climate Accountability across the United States. The network launched in March 2021. This year, Vermont became the sixth state in the nation to file a lawsuit against major fossil fuel companies for lying about their products’ role in climate change.

“I am proud to add my name to the list of leaders who recognize the damage the fossil fuel industry has perpetrated on our communities,” said Mayor Watson. “Standing up to Big Oil means standing up for my constituents. Those of us on this list can name specific impacts climate change has had on our budgets, our health, and our ecosystems. It is beyond time that the fossil fuel industry be held accountable for the damage they have already caused.”

“The corporations, individuals, and families who have benefited the most from the extractive economy must make reparations so that we can build a just transition to a regenerative and balanced way of life on Earth,” said Representative Cina.

“I joined the Leaders for Climate Accountability network because climate costs impact our most vulnerable Vermonters and communities who do not have resources to handle the life-changing impacts of climate change,” said Representative Mulvaney-Stanak. “We saw this during Hurricane Irene in 2011, which wiped away working people's homes and businesses in rural communities in our state. We must do more to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable by paying their fair share to repair the harm already done to our communities.”

“It is baffling to think that the actions of so few have a lasting impact on our natural environment, but it has never been more evident,” said Councilor Stromberg. “Fossil fuel companies are responsible for the vast majority of global emissions. Their deceptiveness and blatant disregard for the need to alter their business models to fight climate change is something that must end, and that is why I wake up every day proud to be a Leader for Climate Accountability.”

Leaders for Climate Accountability are committed to three core policy principles:

  • Holding the fossil fuel industry accountable, because those who are most responsible for the climate crisis and its impacts should pay their fair share of theits costs.

  • Defending local democracy and access to the courts, because communities facing ongoing and imminent harm deserve the opportunity to seek justice.

  • Putting constituents and their safety and security at the forefront of policy solutions, because taxpayers should not be stuck footing the entire bill for climate adaptation and resilience.

Leaders for Climate Accountability is expanding its membership as a growing number of states and localities are taking or considering legal action to recover the spiraling local costs of climate change damages — including sea-level rise, wildfires, floods, and supercharged storms — from major oil and gas companies that knew their products would cause the climate crisis but lied to the public and opposed climate action for decades.

Background on Lawsuits Seeking to Hold Big Oil Accountable for Climate Deception:

Since 2017, the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the District of Columbia, as well as 20 city and county governments in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, and Washington, have filed lawsuits to hold major oil and gas companies accountable for deceiving the public about their products’ role in climate change.

Leaders for Climate Accountability is a national network of public officials who support holding corporate polluters accountable for their outsized role in creating and perpetuating the climate crisis. For more information, visit LeadersForClimateAccountability.org

The effort is facilitated by the Center for Climate Integrity, a nonprofit that works to help communities hold corporate polluters accountable for the massive costs of climate change. For more information, visit climateintegrity.org

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