“Powering up the town energy plan”

Check out the front page article of this week’s Williston Observer for an in-depth article covering our support of the energy plan and it’s implementation at recent selectboard meetings. Great quotes by our very own Brian, Caylin, and Kevin! Join us on Tuesday 10/5 at the next meeting as we continue to support energy plan action!

Support Energy Committee at Selectboard meeting Tuesday 9/21

Town of Williston LogoMany citizens of Williston signed a letter to the Williston Selectboard in July 2020 supporting the adoption of the Energy Plan. The Selectboard will be discussing the Energy Committee at their meeting on Tuesday, September 21 at 8:15pm. We invite you to attend in support!

Members of Sustainable Williston will be speaking and will ask anyone who is joining in support of the Energy Committee to raise their hand (either on Zoom or in person). If you join on Zoom we encourage you to also make a short comment in the chat indicating your support, ex: “I’m here tonight to support moving forward with the proposed Energy Committee.” We recommend arriving/joining by 8pm in case the meeting is running early.

This link will take you to the Town website with the meeting agenda, additional meeting materials and instructions for joining on Zoom.

We know from experience that community turnout at Selectboard meetings makes a real difference. We hope to see you there!

Come to the Electric Vehicle Show and Tell

Interested in learning more about electric vehicles? Want to hear how your neighbors are benefiting from driving EVs? Come join us! Sustainable Williston’s Environmental Forum Series continues with an Electric Vehicle Show and Tell on September 26 from 1-3pm at the Williston Town Hall. A variety of electric vehicles (and an electric bike!) will be available for you to explore. Have an electric vehicle that you would love to display? Please contact Kevin Thorley at elron8711@gmail.com.

Backyard Climate Change Solutions Workshop

We are kicking off our fall Environmental Forum Series with a Backyard Climate Change Solutions Workshop Thursday 9/9 at 6:30pm.

Help fight climate change throughout your property! Reduce emissions and sequester carbon using regenerative gardening techniques: learn tips for growing your own organic food, composting, rewilding your lawn with native plants, and cover cropping. This will be a hands-on workshop run by Deborah Miuccio in her backyard. Deborah is a Sustainable Williston member and Gardener’s Supply employee who is experienced in these solutions. Social will follow.

Sign up here by Wednesday 9/8/21 to receive an email with the event’s address.

Youth addresses Climate Action with Selectboard

“It is my generation that will be dealing with the worst effects of climate change…You have a responsibility to us and the power to do something about it.”

-14 yr old member delivers public comment on climate action to Selectboard at August 17 meeting. To see the full video, click here.

It’s been a year since the Town Energy Plan was adopted yet nothing has been accomplished. This has not been placed as an agenda item for the Selectboard despite repeated requests from residents.

The first step in the Energy Plan calls for the Selectboard to hire a Town Energy Coordinator and create a Town Energy Committee, as over 100 other Vermont towns have done.

Please stay tuned for the September Selectboard meeting where we will continue to urge them to take action!

Support a Town Energy Coordinator and Committee at Upcoming Selectboard meetings

Sustainable Williston worked hard last summer asking the Selectboard to adopt the Energy Plan that they were considering, and they did! Our group is small and this effort was only successful because we were able to bring in new people and excitement through a letter of support signed by almost 100 residents.

This letter emphasized that having a plan isn’t enough — that an Energy Coordinator would need to be hired and a Committee would need to be formed in order for the plan to be put into motion.

Now that in-person Selectboard meetings are happening again, Sustainable Williston is making an effort to attend regularly and speak up about this during public comment. We’re asking supporters to join us at the Selectboard meeting on the Jul 27 or Aug 17 at 7pm and stand when our speakers ask who in attendance supports the Energy Coordinator/Committee effort.

Please join us for either of those dates! The speakers would love having your friendly face in the audience for support!

Sustainable Williston plants trees!

Sustainable Williston volunteers recently planted 20 bare root trees (sycamore, silver and sugar maple, hackberry, and elm) donated from 350VT. The Town of Williston suggested a parcel of land along the Allen Brook across from the fire station. This area has beaver activity and was in need of help. It is also private land that belongs to a condo development. Chapin first scouted the area and then received permission for the planting. All hands were needed to plant the trees in heavy clay soil.

Next steps include making a sign to place near the trees explaining the project. We will need to watch for dry spells and water trees as needed. Weeding around the trees a couple of times this season will help with crowding. In 5 years, we should remove hardware cloth. We will continue to work with the town to designate a place for more planting, form an energy committee, and hire an energy coordinator

So glad we could pull this off! Thanks everyone!

Cheers to carbon sequestration, soil erosion prevention, wildlife habitat enhancement, run-off reduction for Allen Brook protection, and climate change mitigation.

Support an Energy Coordinator position in next year’s Budget


Thank you for signing Sustainable Williston’s letter in support of the Energy Plan this summer. In case you missed the good news, it was adopted — and you helped make that happen! We know that hearing from Williston residents makes a difference to the Selectboard.

Now we need your help again! The Town is now going through its budget setting process for the upcoming fiscal year but hasn’t allocated any funding to hiring an Energy Coordinator, a key element of advancing the Energy Plan’s goals (here’s a one-page summary if you need a reminder!). If this position isn’t funded it’s unlikely that our town will make much progress on our goals and believe it or not Vermont is already well behind other New England states in meeting key energy targets (source). That’s why we need town-level leadership!

The Selectboard may say that we can’t afford the position, but Sustainable Williston believes we can’t afford not to fund it! Climate change won’t wait patiently.

We’re asking you to write a quick email urging funding for an Energy Coordinator to be included in next year’s budget. Below is an email template you can use or adapt. Finding the exact right words is much less important than just writing something that allows your voice to be heard by Williston decision-makers.

Below are some VIP follow up items that apply to EVERYONE regarding requesting funding be allocated to hiring an Energy Coordinator:
1- write an email to Selectboard before Dec 25.
2- plan to comment at Budget Public Hearing Jan 5 (Zoom info will get posted here in early Jan)
3- come to our prep meeting Jan 4 at 7:15pm to craft and practice your statement together (Google Meet link)
4- get your friends to do the same!

Thanks in advance for your support. We’re grateful for you all.

Sincerely,
Your neighbors of Sustainable Williston

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To: ewells@willistonvt.org, jeff.fehrs@vermont.gov, tkenney@vermontattys.com, joy@jmkarneslaw.com, macaig@msn.com, gordonflagfarm1991@gmail.com
Subject: Please Fund A Town Energy Coordinator Position

Dear Erik Wells, Williston Selectboard, and Williston Planning Commission,

Thank you for adopting the Energy Plan addendum to the Williston Town Plan. I strongly support our town taking a leadership role in Vermont’s elimination of our reliance on fossil fuels and transition to fully renewable resources. I like how the energy plan attempts to do this with various pathways- transportation and land use, building energy usage, recycling and consumption, renewable energy generation, and agriculture.

The Energy Plan outlines specific goals for the town to achieve. The first and second recommendations are to hire an Energy Coordinator and to establish an Energy Committee. Together, they will “monitor the energy plan pathways to assess progress made against the plan’s stated benchmarks, and make recommendations to alter the pathways to assure that the town will reach its energy goals (p.21).” It is important to start filling these positions in order to move forward with our work as individuals and a community.

I recognize that our town is in a financially strapped situation, due to lost revenue from the coronavirus pandemic. I appreciate the work that you are doing to govern through this situation, while maintaining the services that we expect from town leadership and departments. However, I still think that we need to have a town Energy Coordinator in this year’s budget cycle. Given that one of the expectations for the town Energy Coordinator would be to find grant money to support our town efforts, perhaps this will eventually even be a money-saving proposition. Money is available from state and private entities, we just need a paid staff member to be focused on this effort!

I really hope that funding an Energy Coordinator position can be added into next year’s budget.

Thank you,

Williston Energy Plan Summary

Thanks to Marcy Kass for this excellent summary of the Williston Energy Plan. Feel free to share!
Currently the first draft of the Town Budget does not include paying for anything in the Williston Town Energy Plan. So while it was approved by the Selectboard, there’s currently no money in the budget allocated to its recommendations, most notably the Town Energy Coordinator position.
We are rolling up our sleeves in Sustainable Williston to see if we can do some outreach in the community. While funding a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is a challenge, as a town, country, and species we can’t afford NOT to do it.

Stay tuned!