ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. (WFFF) — Environmental activists rallied in Essex Junction on Tuesday to protest a proposal by semiconductor maker GlobalFoundries to purchase its own electricity. If approved by the Public Utility Commission, GlobalFoundaries would become its own utility, exempting the manufacturer from Vermont’s long-term greenhouse emission plan.

The company says it would save them money. But Peter Sterling, executive director of Renewable Energy Vermont, says that—as one of the state’s biggest energy users—GlobalFoundaries needs to be part of the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “You consume 8% of the state of Vermont’s electricity,” Sterling said. “You need to be purchasing renewable energy like every other utility in Vermont.”

GlobalFoundries and Gov. Phil Scott’s Administration signed a letter of intent that outlines a greenhouse gas reduction plan for the company if it becomes a self-managed utility. But Chittenden County State Rep. Tanya Vyhovsky said the deal would exempt the company from the renewable energy guidelines in the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act,

Scott said Tuesday that officials want to level the playing field to allow GlobalFoundries to remain competitive and stay in Vermont. “But we do want them to be accountable for their emissions,” Scott said. 

Gabe Groveman, a senior at Montpelier High School, said the lasting impact of the deal will fall on younger Vermonters. “It is daunting to look at the future and see how dark it could be if we don’t act now,” he said. 

The Public Utilities Commission will vote on the request by the end of the year.