Statement from Jon Groveman, Policy and Water Program Director for the Vermont Natural Resources Council:
“Today, the Vermont House of Representatives advanced H.492, a bill that will strengthen Act 250, Vermont’s comprehensive state land use program, on a vote of 92-49. This bill incorporates recommendations of the Commission on Act 250, and addresses an important component of many years of work in the Legislature to update and modernize Act 250.
H.492 restores an expert Board to administer Act 250 and hear Act 250 appeals. When Act 250 was enacted in 1970, a cornerstone of the program was an Environmental Board that oversaw the nine Act 250 regional commissions that review permit applications. The Board fostered the clear and consistent application of Act 250 across Vermont through its decisions on appeals and management of the program. The Board was eliminated in 2004. The result has been a weaker Act 250 program. H.492 improves Act 250 by enacting an expert, independent professional Board to run the program.
H.492 is a lynchpin to creating a stronger Act 250 program at a time when Vermont needs it most. A robust Act 250 program led by an expert, independent Board will be key to addressing environmental challenges like climate change and the influx of people it will bring to Vermont.”