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Burlington Town Center Supports Smart Growth

This week the Burlington City Council is considering whether to adopt zoning revisions that will help support redevelopment of the Burlington Town Center Mall. (These zoning changes would improve the design, stormwater, and energy efficiency of other properties downtown, too.) VNRC supports this project because of the smart growth benefits it brings, but offers several suggestions about how the project could be improved.

The next meeting about the zoning for this area of Burlington is September 29th at 7:00pm, and the City Council needs to hear from diverse voices in support of smart growth in Burlington. Please consider attending.

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Elisabeth Kulas, Head of Housing Trust of Rutland County, to Receive 2016 Art Gibb Award for Individual Leadership

Elisabeth Kulas, the executive director of the Housing Trust of Rutland County, will be recognized next week for promoting smart growth, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and strong communities through the development of affordable housing.

Kulas, of Clarendon, will receive the Arthur Gibb Award for Individual Leadership from the Vermont Natural Resources Council at VNRC’s annual meeting Thursday, September 29 at the Inn at Lareau Farm in Waitsfield. (more…)

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Director Brian Shupe Explains The Missing “Why” in Energy Transition

The Times Argus recently featured Director Brian Shupe’s commentary on the importance of Vermont’s energy transition.

“Virtually all of the energy we use to drive our cars, trucks and buses is imported into the state, as is the vast majority of the energy we use to heat our homes and businesses. And we remain significantly reliant on other states and nations to generate the electric power we need to light our homes, charge our computers, run our many appliances.

How Vermont embraces this new energy transition matters. A lot. That’s why (VNRC) has worked with communities across Vermont to implement conservation and efficiency programs, undertake projects that give people transportation choices, and advance community-owned and well-sited renewable generation.

We have also worked from the local level to the highest levels of government to promote and craft plans that will help achieve the most strategic, well-supported approaches to transitioning off of fossil fuels. We believe strongly that, to succeed, Vermonters must be actively engaged in our energy transition.”


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VNRC Weighs in on Slate of Water Quality Issues

It’s been a busy month for VNRC’s water program, responding to a suite of initiatives proposed by the Agency of Natural Resources that address the protection of Vermont’s waters. VNRC, working with partners, addressed the following priority issues: 1) We support the proposed changes to Vermont Water Quality Standards (VWQS) that could result in the designation of more high quality waters in Vermont.  However, we raised concerns that some of the proposed amendments could weaken Vermont’s long time policy against allowing high quality waters to be diminished – know as the anti-degradation policy.   VNRC’s position is that any changes to VWQS must strengthen protections for Vermont’s waters.  2) We commented on the proposed plan to implement the newly revised Lake Champlain cleanup plan – known as the TMDL.  In our comments, we recognized the progress the State has made over the previous TMDL implementation plan.  However, we identified areas where the plan is still not strong enough to meet the serious challenge of cleaning up the lake. We submitted comments with specific recommendations for improving the plan; and 3) We strongly support ANR establishing a safe drinking water standard for PFOA.  However, we submitted comments that recommend a more stringent standard than ANR recommends based on recent scientific studies that have come to light.

You can see VNRC’s full comments on these issues at the links below:



VNRC Supports Smart Growth Mall Redevelopment, Calls for Improvements

The redevelopment of the Burlington Town Center Mall site, an underutilized mall on Burlington’s Church Street, continued making progress last week when the City Council considered changes to zoning in the area. VNRC supports the project from a smart growth perspective because of its potential to bring vitality, housing, transportation, and jobs to downtown Burlington. At the same time, we see opportunities for improvement – to design, parking, and energy efficiency – that should be seized. Read our comments, and learn more about the project here:

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Climate, Faith Symposium Join for Climate Justice Conference

Climate, Faith Symposium Join for Climate Justice Conference

Vermont Interfaith Power and Light and Our Children, Climate, Faith Symposium have joined together to offer a joint conference called Deep Change for Climate Justice: Coalescing a Transformational Movement on October 15 – 16 at the Briggs Opera House, Hotel Coolidge, and other sites in White River Junction. Keynote speakers include: the Rev. Fred Small, a pastor and long-time climate activist who led the Unitarian Universalist Church in Cambridge, MA; and Sherri Mitchell, a lawyer and an environmental and indigenous rights activist and leader. For information and to register go to: www.dc4cj2016.org 


Start Date: October 15 @ 9:00 am
End Date: October 16 @ 2:30 pm

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AVCC Conservation Summit

AVCC Conservation Summit

This year AVCC is holding its annual meeting and Conservation Summit at the Lake Morey Inn in Fairlee on Oct 22. The Summit is a daylong educational and networking event for community volunteers engaged in planning and caring for natural resources. Join AVCC and share experiences and ideas on the many issues communities face in managing natural resource assets, from town forests to town plans!  Dr. Walter Poleman, Natural Resources Senior Lecturer at the University of Vermont, will give the keynote address. For more information and to register go to: http://vtconservation.com/conservation_summit/.

Start Date: October 22 @ 8:30 am
End Date: October 22 @ 3:30 pm

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Vermont Community Energy and Climate Action Conference

Save the date for the 9th annual Community Energy and Climate Action Conference will take place on December 3 at the Lake Morey Inn in Fairlee, VT. This year’s theme is: Local Leadership, Local Action: Partnering to Get to 90 by 2050 and will again highlight programs and opportunities leaders can implement locally – town energy committee members in particular – as well frame the opportunities Vermonters, together, can seize to take needed climate action. This year’s keynote speaker will be Soren Hermansen, the director of the Energy Academy on the Danish island of Samsø, and a driving force behind the island achieving a 100 percent renewable electric grid. To learn more, click here.

Start Date: December 3 @ 8:00 am
End Date: December 3 @ 5:00 pm

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September 2016

Headlines: VNRC Active in Working Group to Maintain Forests, VNRC AmeriCorps Members Pass the Baton, Kulas Recognized with Arthur Gibb Award, Thanks to our Summer Help, VCV to Release Lawmaker Scorecard, Dam Removal in Randolph, VNRC Weighs in on Slate of Water Quality Issues, New Poll Finds Growing Support for National Carbon Pollution Tax, VNRC Supports Smart Growth Mall Redevelopment and Calls for Improvements, In 20 Short Years, We’ve Wiped Out 10 Percent of the Earth’s Wilderness, VNRC Annual Meeting, Events.

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Fifth Anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene

Headlines: Progress on Safeguarding our Waters, Forests Play Key Role in Climate Resilience, VNRC Creates Natural Resources Course for Local Leaders, A Price on Carbon Pollution, Save the Date: VNRC Annual Meeting, Events.

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July 2016

Headlines: Vermont Forest Roundtable 10th Anniversary, Net Metering Rule Would Slow Progress, VNRC Intervenes in Swanton Dam FERC License Request, VNRC Continues Legacy of Mollie Beattie, Poll: Vermonters Support Action to Address Global Warming, Stronger Rules Neede to Address Farm Pollution, Addressing Threats to Vermont’s Groundwater, Buckley Appointed to Downtown Board as Smart Growth Rep, VEIC Founder Receives Lifetime Achievement Award, Hartford and VEIC: Energy Planning and Implementation Initiative, Events, Support Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, Exxon Mobil Ramps up Support of Cabon Pollution Tax.

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June 2016

Headlines:  Gov Candidates Debate on Environmental Issues a Succes; First Annual Vermont Gives Day a Success; VNRC, VECAN Seeking AmeriCorps Member; Hooper Recognized by National Wildlife Federation; Energy Independent Vermont Webinar Series; Keeping Vermont Forest Strong; VNRC Monitors Proposed New Vista Project in Upper Valley; EPA Releases Lake Champlain Pollution Clean-up Plan; Rutland Solar Project Receives Accolades, National Interest; Stronger Water Quality Standards Needed on Farms; Vermont Leads Nation in Clean Energy Jobs; Conservation Funding Open to Forest Landowners in Connecticut River Watershed; Zero Energy Now Helps Homeowners Save Money.

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May 2016

Headlines: VNRC and Partners Launch FreeVtRivers.org to Highlight Benefits of Dam Removal; Vermont Gubernatorial Debate on Environmental Issues; Staying Connected Initiative Video; VNRC Weighs in on Hazardous Waste and Groundwater Protection Rules; VNRC Talks Smart Growth at Burlington Town Center Redevelopment Meeting; VNRC Sees Pros and Cons of State Dam Ownership; Trainings Continue to Help Landowners Conserve Forests; VNRC Meets with Jay Peak, State to Improve Water Quality at Resort; Opportunity to Weigh in on Farming Practices for Clean Water; Join the Vermont Climate Economy Partnership; Vermont Youth Lobby Day; Bike Service Now Available on Vermont Amtrak; Vermonters Now Storing Renewable Energy at Home; World Bank, IMF Call for Price on Carbon Pollution;

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