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Join Statement: VNRC and VCV on Environmental Legislation Moving Forward at State House


March 17, 2017

Join Statement from Vermont Natural Resources Council and Vermont Conservation Voters on Environmental Legislation Moving Forward at the State House

A number of Environmental Common Agenda priorities are moving forward at the Legislature, advancing safeguards for our waterways, forests, and protections from toxic chemical exposure.

The Vermont Natural Resources Council and Vermont Conservation Voters are encouraged to see a number of Environmental Common Agenda priorities moving forward at the State House. The 2017 Vermont Environmental Common Agenda is a guide developed by a range of environmental organizations from across the state that highlights Vermont’s most pressing environmental issues.

This week, lawmakers have advanced a number of bills that address a range of environmental and public health issues out of committee, making the “crossover” deadline for legislation to remain active for the rest of this year’s session. By moving legislation out of committee this week, lawmakers have shown they are prioritizing issues like toxic chemical reform; improving Act 250 to better address challenges including forest fragmentation and climate change; dam safety; and stormwater permitting.

Lauren Hierl, political director at the Vermont Conservation Voters said, “Today, the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee unanimously advanced legislation that takes preliminary steps to protect Vermonters from toxic chemicals. We look forward to working with the House to strengthen the bill to ensure Vermont is putting in place meaningful new tools to identify, respond, and prevent toxic contamination. Vermont families, like those in Bennington who continue to struggle with PFOA contamination in their drinking water, deserve no less.”

Jon Groveman, water program and policy director at the Vermont Natural Resources Council said, “VNRC is pleased that the House Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife Committee has taken a step toward modernizing and strengthening Act 250. The Commission proposed in H.424 will allow for a holistic review of Act 250 that balances permitting efficiencies with updating and strengthening Act 250’s signature safeguards for our natural resources to account for 21st century problems like global warming and forest fragmentation.”

Groveman added, “the dam safety bill is a significant step forward in addressing the hundreds of unmonitored dams on Vermont’s rivers and streams. This legislation will allow the state to evaluate where all Vermont dams are located, who owns them and what condition they are in. The bill would bring these dams out of the shadows, giving us the information we need to address potential public safety issues posed by aging dams.”

“As the federal administration is proposing massive cuts to the EPA which would undermine protections for our air, land, water, and wildlife, it’s encouraging to see the Vermont Legislature continue to advance Vermont’s strong environmental ethic on a range of issues,” added Hierl.