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Efficiency, electric vehicles and COVID boosters discussed during Governor Phil Scott’s weekly briefing

Vermont Statehouse
Pat Bradley/WAMC
Vermont Statehouse (file)

Vermont Governor Phil Scott talked about rising gas prices and more at his weekly press conference Tuesday in Montpelier.

The Republican opened his regular press conference noting that most people have been closely watching the volatility of fuel prices. While he did not propose any direct monetary solutions, Scott said there are a number of steps the state and residents can take to be more resilient and therefore less dependent on fossil fuels.

“I realize we’re getting closer to the warmer months but now is the time to think about making efficiency upgrades for next winter," Scott said. "That’s why in the budget I proposed I asked the legislature to appropriate $80 million towards weatherization. Fortunately this is one area in the House-passed budget where we agree and I hope the Senate does as well," stated Scott. "Now on the transportation side I continue to be a strong supporter of electric vehicles. This year I proposed millions in electric vehicle incentives to make this transition more affordable. We’re also going to continue to build out our charging infrastructure.”

Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine began his weekly report noting that just before the briefing began the FDA issued new guidelines for COVID-19 booster shots.

“They have now authorized second booster shots of both the Pfizer and Moderna for everyone 50 and older," Levine said. "They also authorized an additional booster dose for people ages 12 and older who have certain immune deficiencies," reported Levine. "I will note that what I’ve seen thus far says from the FDA that people over age 50 may receive another booster as opposed to a stronger recommendation than that. Now this is very new information and we have not yet had the opportunity to review the details about the authorization.”

BETA Technologies is based at the Burlington International Airport and operates a testing facility in Plattsburgh, New York to develop electric-powered aircraft. As the company obtains building permits to expand its facility at the Burlington International Airport, the South Burlington Development Review Board may require special construction permits for new parking lots. Governor Scott says he is very concerned the company may relocate due to resultant delays and says he will take action if the board or city does not resolve the problem.

“This is going to have a ripple effect across the entire state," the governor said. "I think this is as big as when IBM decided to locate in Vermont. The leadership of BETA wants to be here but they have another alternative and that’s in Plattsburgh. They have an airport there. They have space available and they have everything that they need and they could quickly, quickly change course and go to Plattsburgh. And I just can’t let that happen. We can’t let that happen. This is too important to Vermont. If either the DRB can’t fix it or the city of South Burlington, the council, can’t fix it I’ll seek a legislative fix.”

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