On behalf of the Vermont Natural Resources Council, The Nature Conservancy in Vermont, Audubon Vermont, Vermont Conservation Voters, and Conservation Law Foundation, we urge the Vermont House of Representatives to support the Act 250 modernization bill, H.926.
As Vermont has evolved over the past 50 years since Act 250 was enacted, so have the challenges facing our state. It is imperative that the laws safeguarding our environment are updated to better address today’s challenges. To that end, the House Committee on Natural Resources, Fish, and Wildlife passed a strong bill that would update and modernize Act 250 to better serve current and future generations.
As leading environmental and conservation organizations in Vermont, it is our long-time goal to ensure that Vermont’s natural resources, wild places, and working lands are preserved for the ecological, cultural, and economic value they provide, and for the health of the state and Vermonters overall.
H.926 strengthens Act 250’s environmental protections by:
- Adding criteria to maintain intact forests and increase protections for wildlife habitat, which for the first time in a century are shrinking under the pressures of development and are increasingly stressed by climate change;
- Expanding jurisdiction to better address projects in ecologically-sensitive high elevation areas, or projects that could unduly fragment forests and working lands;
- Expanding jurisdiction to address sprawling development around interstate interchanges;
- Adding criteria to address climate change through consideration of transportation and energy impacts;
- Improving protections for river corridors by requiring ANR to create a river corridor permitting program, and updating the science to reflect a changing climate that is already bringing more frequent and intense flooding events;
- Supporting development in our historic, compact downtowns, villages, and neighborhoods;
- Supporting working forests and agricultural lands, which are under increasing pressures from development and large-scale market forces; and
- Promoting sustainable trail development by creating interim clarifying policies and supporting the establishment of a new technical assistance and best management practices program at the Agency of Natural Resources.
Collectively, our organizations have championed Act 250 and its role protecting Vermont’s environment and communities since its enactment. Please support H.926 to modernize Act 250.
Brian Shupe, Executive Director
Vermont Natural Resources Council
Phil Huffman, Director of Government Relations & Policy
The Nature Conservancy in Vermont
David Mears, Executive Director
Lauren Hierl, Executive Director
Vermont Conservation Voters
Jen Duggan, Vice President and Director
Conservation Law Foundation Vermont