Vermont’s climate Superfund Act: a model for other states

Vermont has become the first U.S. state to pass a law that will hold fossil fuel companies accountable for climate change damage

Vermont has become the first state in the U.S. to enact a law requiring fossil fuel companies to pay for damages caused by climate change. Known as the Climate Superfund Act, this legislation mandates oil companies to potentially pay billions of dollars for the environmental impacts of their emissions.

Similar to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program, Vermont’s new regulations enable the state to charge major fossil fuel companies potentially billions of dollars to cover the climate impacts they have caused.

Under the new law, Vermont officials have until January 2026 to evaluate the total costs to the state from greenhouse gas emissions released between 1995 and 2024. This assessment will include impacts on public health, biodiversity, and economic development.

Using federal data, they will determine how much each polluter should be charged to seek compensation.

The funds collected from these charges will be used by the state of Vermont to enhance its infrastructure. Massachusetts, Maryland, and New York are considering similar measures.

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