VNRC and partners express disappointment with Governor Scott’s veto of forest protections

Governor Scott’s Veto of H.926 Misses Opportunity to Protect Forests, Address Climate Change and Support Rural Communities

MONTPELIER (October 6, 2020) – In his veto of House Bill 926 last night, Governor Scott missed an opportunity to advance important changes to Act 250, Vermont’s landmark development review law, that are needed to protect our forests, address climate change, and support rural communities.

Development is fragmenting Vermont’s iconic forests, and for the first time in more than a century the amount of forestland in the state is declining. This is damaging wildlife habitat, reducing the clean water and climate benefits our forests provide, and limiting the ability of those forests to support outdoor recreational and forest products businesses.

House Bill 926 was carefully written to address this problem and would have supported rural economic development and provided critical environmental protections at a time when we need strong progress in both areas. The Governor’s veto is shortsighted and only postpones the important work that Vermonters, through their state Representatives and Senators, asked his Administration to begin.

The Forest Partnership thanks the Vermont General Assembly, especially the Chairs and Members of both the House and Senate natural resources committees and leadership in both chambers for their hard work and commitment to advance legislation to modernize Act 250 to guide sustainable development in Vermont’s forests. The Forest Partnership would also like to recognize the many trail organizations that voiced their support for protecting forestland as necessary to provide a connected and high-quality outdoor recreation experience.

Finally, and most importantly, we thank our members across the state for their willingness to engage in this conversation through the many calls, letters and email messages in support of H.926 throughout the two-year process leading up to the passage of this important bill. We will continue to work diligently to ensure smart, thoughtful protection of Vermont’s priceless forests through sound public policy and other means.

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About the Vermont Forest Partnership

The Forest Partnership is a coalition of environmental and conservation organizations working together to promote the protection and management of Vermont’s forests as vital to the health and wellbeing of our state. We seek to secure increased funding for forestland protection and conservation, promote sound forest policy, and raise public awareness about the risks to Vermont’s forests and the many benefits they provide.