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2018 Legislative Lowdown on Climate Action and Clean Energy

Read on for an overview of what moved on clean energy and climate-focused issues during Vermont’s 2018 legislative session, what didn’t, and why. Note, however, that while the Legislature adjourned in early May, a political showdown between Governor Phil Scott and legislators on several issues – including, potentially, some climate and clean energy related ones – means that there are a few things still in flux.

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Vermont House Issues Final Approval for Dam Safety and Drinking Water Protection Bill – H.554  

Today, the Vermont House gave its final approval to H.554, a bill addressing dam safety and drinking water protection.  H.554 requires the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to maintain an inventory of all known dams in Vermont and inspect them under DEC jurisdiction on a regular, risk-based schedule.  There are 820 known dams in the state. Of those, 696 are under DEC jurisdiction.

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Vermont Legislature Passes Protections for Vermonters Exposed to Toxic Chemicals

On May 9, 2018, the Vermont Senate passed legislation to help Vermonters harmed by exposure to toxic chemicals and hold polluters accountable (S.197), concurring with the House-passed version of the bill. Now, it will go to Governor Scott for his signature.

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VNRC Asks Lawmakers to Stop Scott Administration Effort to Drain Clean Energy Development Fund

On April 10, VNRC’s Energy & Climate Program Director Johanna Miller sent the following letter to Senate Appropriations members — who are considering the House-passed budget — in response to learning that the Scott Administration made a recommendation to strip the few remaining dollars in the Clean Energy Development Fund. Read the letter below.

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water spout

Urge Governor Scott to Strengthen Vermont’s Regulation of Toxic Chemicals

S.103 protects the health of Vermonters by requiring chemical testing of new wells and requiring companies to disclose concerning chemicals in their products. Send a letter to the Governor urging him to sign this legislation!

Filling up gas tank

Trump Administration’s Reversal of Federal Clean Car Standards Costly to Public Health, People’s Pocketbooks, and Environment

Montpelier – Yesterday the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reversed the agency’s previous decision to increase federal fuel efficiency requirements, known as the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. The efficiency standards would have required cars to reduce polluting emissions for model years 2022-2025. These standards were adopted in 2012, after intensive analysis and with support of automakers. Existing standards have led to transportation innovation and accelerated the progress of electric and hybrid electric vehicles. (more…)

Vermont House Approves S.103

Montpelier – The Vermont House gave final approval yesterday to a bill (S.103) that better protect children against potentially dangerous toxins in children’s products and establish a testing protocol for certain drinking water wells.

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Protecting Vermonters from toxic chemicals

It’s difficult to keep up with the many absurdities coming out of the Trump administration, but near the top of the heap for me is the recent news that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has overhauled its process for determining whether new chemicals — used in everything from household cleaners and industrial manufacturing to children’s toys — pose a serious risk to human health or the environment.

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Vermont Senate Passes Bill To Help Vermonters Harmed By Toxic Contamination

Today, the Vermont Senate passed a bill (S.197) that helps Vermonters who have been harmed by toxic chemical contamination and face increased medical expenses, reduced property value, and other harms as a result of the chemical contamination. (more…)

Mid-Session Legislative Lowdown on Climate & Clean Energy

On March 2, lawmakers passed a critical mid-session mark – crossover. Crossover is the deadline where all bills – except money bills, which get one more working week – need to move out of their committee of jurisdiction. If the jurisdictional committee doesn’t move a bill, it either needs to get a special exemption from the rules committee or be attached to a bill that is moving – or it dies for the year.

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