Last Monday night we had student representatives from 4 schools around Vermont all gathered to talk about potential biomass legislation. We're calling it the Vermont Sustainable Heating Initiative. The result of that meeting was that the kids from Addison County are "phone bombing" their representatives to ask that their addendum be tacked on to a particular bill. David Zuckerman (Progressive from Burlington) said that most representatives get 20-30 calls from constituents TOTAL per legislative session, so a phone bomb party should be pretty effective (that's where you get together and have everybody take turns calling the representative). Slightly annoying? yes. It would be better if it were spaced out, but ... nonetheless that's the plan.
The plan as it stands right now is:
- Tax non-renewable fuels to fund the transition to renewable fuels which includes
- Overhaul LIHEAP (a fuel assistance program for poor folks in VT) to help them switch to biomass
- Have the state buy lots of 1000 pellet stoves to sell at cost to Vermonters
- Develop a pelletizer station where farmers or foresters or lumber mills or wood workers could bring biomass to pelletize and, at the same location, have a university-sponsored biofuels research facility to develop grass pellet technology.
- To prevent racketeering, charter a pubic, transparent pellet fuels futures market
That way you create simultaneously a supply and demand system for Vermont-made pellets. This will also serve as a huge stimulus to the Vermont economy since farmers will have an additional cash crop (with the hope that they would not reduce food production, but rather they would find suitable crops for otherwise underutilized land).
We need SO much input though! From economics experts, biomass experts, university professors, and foresters. So if you're one of those folks please visit biomassvt.pbwiki.com and reply with your thoughts!
We're hoping to have a conversation with the Governor about this within the next week. *oooo excitment! *
Tomorrow: Meeting at the High School for District Heating Project. Maybe that will ever happen. My fiery student wants to get involved, and gosh, I feel like with this girl anything is possible. She's got more energy than even me!