Vermont Conservation Voters

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S.197 – Holding Toxic Polluters Accountable (3rd reading)

Pro-environment vote: YES

This bill would have helped ensure that polluters, rather than impacted Vermonters or taxpayers, would pay the costs for harms such as property damage, medical monitoring expenses, or health care costs associated with an illness due to toxic chemical contamination caused by the user of a toxic substance. The Senate version of the bill included a ‘strict liability’ provision to allow the state and Vermonters to hold polluters accountable for harm without having to prove negligence in how toxic chemicals were handled – just that the company was responsible for releasing the dangerous chemical and is therefore responsible for any harm caused. The ‘strict liability’ provision was stripped by the House, but they did pass a provision to hold polluters accountable for medical monitoring expenses.

Status: Enacted by Legislature, but VETOED by Gov. Scott; Senate vote 17-13.