Letter: An open letter to Governor Phil Scott

Posted
Dear Governor Scott:

Knowledge is power.

In today's rapidly evolving world, business leaders rely on timely and accurate data in order to make informed decisions on how to improve their operations, support their employees, and improve the bottom line.

That's why we, as leaders of companies that employ more than 800 Vermonters and account for over $1 billion in sales each year, are so concerned by your refusal to seek new information and analysis to address threats facing our state.

As fellow CEOs, we understand your commitment to not raising "prices" on the people you consider your customers, the citizens of Vermont. We, too, have customers and are cautious about raising rates and prices. But as responsible business leaders we must also consider the greater health of our enterprise and our shared economy, and we must assess the need for strategic investment. To do that, we need information.

That's why we are so concerned about your opposition to new studies that will help us identify solutions for Vermont's water quality and climate change challenges.

Two critical studies which will address threats to Vermont's economy and environment - one to identify funding to improve water quality, and one to study the economic costs and benefits of decarbonization - have received broad bipartisan support in the General Assembly. Yet you've declared that neither study should be funded.

When faced with major business challenges, it is prudent to investigate options and understand implications before moving forward. But ignoring the need for data or action is far from prudent - it is the definition of foolhardiness.

There is a saying in business: "Hope is not a strategy." We can't rely on hope to clean our water or our air. Hope isn't going to strengthen the economy or mitigate the effects of pollution on our citizens and environment. We need to let facts guide potential solutions, and then pursue the actions that offer the best return on our collective investment and have the most positive impact on our shared enterprise.

We wholeheartedly agree with the goal of making Vermont a more affordable place to live, work and do business. That's why we're passionate about investing in obtaining the information we need to grow, and to address the threats we face. The information from these studies will help us strengthen Vermont's economy, and supporting them is the prudent move.

As fellow business leaders, we urge you to support the clean water study embedded in S.260 and the decarbonization study funded in H. 924 (the budget). The information we gain from this research is critical to collective success.

Knowledge is power, so let's gain as much as we can to move Vermont forward. We owe it to our customers, the current and future citizens of Vermont.

Joey Bergstein, CEO, Seventh Generation

Mark Curran, Co-founder Black River Produce

Jen Kimmich, CEO, Alchemist

Bram Kleppner , CEO, Danforth Pewter

Jostein Solheim, CEO, Ben & Jerry's

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