Environmental Justice

Centering Vermonters most impacted by environmental harms in just solutions

No matter what we look like, where we live, or how much money we make, we all deserve clean air and water, and the ability to keep our lights and heat on and get where we need to go without worrying about how we will pay for it. 

As we work to transform our energy systems, shut down polluting industries, and build infrastructure for a greener future, we must ensure that everyone benefits – especially Vermonters who have been overburdened by past and current harms, including BIPOC residents, immigrants, and low-income communities. 

In the 2021-2022 legislative session, Rights & Democracy worked in coalition to secure the passage of Vermont’s first comprehensive environmental justice bill, S.148, sponsored by elected champion, State Senator Kesha Ram. This bill lays the groundwork for a just transition that centers the leadership and needs of Vermont’s most impacted communities. 

This policy is a crucial start, but we are still up against status-quo politicians and corporate interests. Together, we have the power to ensure that every Vermonter has a safe, healthy environment where we all can thrive. Join us!


In the 2023-2024 legislative session, we are organizing to win:

  • A revised Renewable Energy Standard (RES) and a transition to 100% renewables with in-state renewables.
  • Full funding for the Environmental Justice Advisory Council, to ensure its longevity to lead VT through a Just Transition.
  • A Ratepayer Protection and Thermal Energy Network Act that creates a pathway for geothermal and other thermal networked energy, moves away from combusting fuels, and expands electric ratepayer protections to all low- and moderate-income Vermonters. Learn more about H.56, a current bill to create these protections.
  • An Affordable Heat Act that weatherizes homes in our most vulnerable communities, lowers heating costs, creates local green jobs, and helps Vermont transition to a strong and sustainable economy.