February 2021 E-News: Updates from VNRC

February E-Newsletter from VNRC

We might have formally welcomed 2021 on January 1, but we heard from many that the Inauguration felt like the real New Year’s Day celebration. With that spirit of optimism and hope, we look forward to connecting with you this month and throughout the year. 

Big changes

 Momentous federal wins for the environment — The Biden Administration issued a suite of executive orders that made January 27 the single biggest day for climate action and conservation in more than a decade. Learn more below.

 Governor plans to invest in weatherization, transportation, downtowns — Here in Vermont, we applauded Governor Scott’s suite of budgetary proposals to significantly increase funding for programs this year that will benefit Vermont’s people, environment, and communities. But the work isn’t over yet. Find our response here to the 2021 budget address, and more details below.

Coming up

 SAVE THE DATE: 13th Annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival — Join us in April for another virtual screening of this short film festival celebrating the world’s most wonderful places and the people who care for them. Stay tuned for more info!

 Common Agenda reception (February 3 @ 5:30pm) — Join our partners at Vermont Conservation Voters (VCV) for a virtual reception revealing the annual Common Agenda, your guide to this year’s top legislative priorities for the environment. There will also be a “meet and greet” among lawmakers and environmental allies. Find the invite here.

 Vermont Transportation Equity Day (February 4 @ 7pm) — VNRC is proud to co-sponsor this virtual event promoting public transit equity and celebrating Vermonters who are promoting clean and equitable transportation. Learn more below.

 VHCC Legislative Week (Kick-off February 17 @ 12pm) — The Vermont Housing and Conservation Coalition (of which VNRC is a part) will kick off a virtual week of storytelling and engagement around the value of housing and conservation, and the role of the Vermont Housing Conservation Board (VHCB). Register here.

 Seminar on small-scale real VT development (February 23 @ 9am) — We’re sponsoring a seminar by the Incremental Development Alliance (check them out!) that will prepare aspiring real estate developers in Vermont to take the first steps on their own smart growth projects that support our villages and downtowns. Learn more and register here.

In the news…

— Winter biking can be fun! — Our newest entry at People, Places, and Transportation is by Kelly Duggan of Old Spokes Home in Burlington. She explains how to equip your bike—and your perspective—to create safe winter biking conditions for yourself and your neighbors. 

 VNRC welcomes Jaime Lee to the Downtown Development Board — Jaime Lee has been appointed by the Governor as VNRC and Preservation Trust of Vermont’s representative on the Downtown Development Board, which supports the preservation and enhancement of Vermont’s distinctive landscape of compact centers surrounded by forests, fields, and farms. Learn more about Jaime at our website.

 Burlington’s Green Stimulus incentives extended into 2021 — VNRC’s Johanna Miller participated in the rollout of some exciting news: the Burlington Electric Department (BED)’s Green Stimulus incentives will continue to help Burlingtonians heat their homes and power their vehicles through this year. Learn more here. (And find a profile of BED’s Green Stimulus in our summer issue of the VER, on page. 6.)

— General Motors to sell only zero-emission vehicles by 2035 — One of the most ambitious moves in the auto industry, it’s part of a broader plan by the company to become carbon neutral by 2040, and it could have immense political implications. Read more in the New York Times.

Find more details below…

Federal Wins for Climate Action and Conservation

Last week the Biden Administration issued a series of executive orders that made January 27 the single biggest day for climate action and conservation in more than a decade!

Among other victories, the nation committed to conserving 30% of lands and waters by 2030, an initiative known as 30×30. Here’s some more that the EOs will accomplish:

  • Elevate climate action to a top White House priority through establishing a National Climate Task Force
  • Pause on entering into new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or offshore waters, and review current leases
  • Direct federal agencies to procure carbon pollution-free electricity and clean, zero-emission vehicles
  • Identify steps that can be taken to double renewable energy production from offshore wind by 2030
  • Establish a Civilian Climate Corps Initiative.

Join us in celebrating these federal commitments to climate action! For starters, check out last week’s Climate Dispatch, where we recap the busy news week, here and nationally.

Investing in Vermont’s Environment & Communities

When Governor Scott delivered his 2021 budget address last week, VNRC applauded his suite of budgetary proposals to significantly increase funding for programs that will benefit Vermont’s people, environment, and communities.

Scott’s proposed one-time investments include a boost to weatherization funding for low- and moderate-income households, support for clean energy and transportation options, and investments in our public lands.

The Governor also committed to supporting programs that will promote smart growth in the state’s downtown and village centers while maintaining our forests, fields, and farms.

Now it’s up to the Legislature to ensure that the Governor’s commitments are put into practice, and to build on these important investments in subsequent years. Find a list of proposed investments and more info here.

Transit Equity Day is Feb. 4

With the Vermont Chapter of the Sierra Club and Transportation for Vermonters, VNRC is proud to co-sponsor a virtual event promoting public transit, walking, biking, carpooling, and electric vehicles as a strategy to combat climate change.

Transit Equity Day is also about engaging in conversation about how public transport—an essential public service—can better work for all. It’s no accident that this event is being held on Rosa Parks’ birthday (see image at left).

Plus, the Sierra Club is pleased to present the first-ever Transit Equity Awards to those who have demonstrated leadership in promoting clean and equitable transportation in Vermont.

Learn more and register here. Hope to “see” you there!

Winter biking can be fun!

Check out our latest entry over at People, Places, and Transportation, VNRC’s blog about imagining a cleaner, brighter transportation future in Vermont.

Kelly Duggan from Old Spokes Home dishes on gear, maintenance, technique, and know-how when it comes to sharing the wintry roads. If you’re a cold-weather biker or want to accommodate your neighbors who rely on their two wheels, take a read!

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