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You are here News Environment ‘Game-changing’: Vermont becomes first state to require big oil to pay for climate damages

‘Game-changing’: Vermont becomes first state to require big oil to pay for climate damages

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Vermont holds big oil respinsible for climate change damageVermont has become the first state to enact a law holding oil firms financially responsible for climate damages, after the Republican governor, Phil Scott, allowed it to pass without his signature late on Thursday.

Modeled after the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program, the Climate Superfund Act directs the state to charge major fossil fuel companies potentially billions of dollars to pay for climate impacts to which their emissions have contributed. It is expected to face legal challenges from the industry.

Under the legislation, Vermont officials will have until January 2026 to assess the total costs to the state from greenhouse gases emitted between 1995 and 2024, including the impacts on public health, biodiversity and economic development. They will then use federal data to determine how much to charge individual polluters for those harms.

Climate advocates celebrated the passage of the law, which won supermajority support in the state legislature from Democrats and some Republicans.

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