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Legislative update: Week 2
In the second week of the legislative session, legislators continue to set their priorities for the year. We already know that environmental initiatives will be in the forefront. VCV is continuing to work to ensure that clean water funding, toxic chemical reforms, climate action, and healthy forests are high on legislator’s priority lists.
CLEAN WATER: #CleanWaterVT
This week, the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee began work on a bill that would create a Clean Water Authority to raise funds and distribute money for clean water projects – legislation we want to see move forward. A first step you can take to help build support for this concept is to sign the petition calling for action on clean water this year. This week, we also participated in testimony on a Scott administration proposal to roll back a key stormwater requirement in Vermont’s Clean Water Act (Act 64) which we will continue opposing in the coming weeks.
Legislation to put a price on carbon pollution and rebate money via Vermonters’ electric bills – with extra rebates for low-income and rural Vermonters – was introduced by Senators Chris Pearson and Alison Clarkson. Similar legislation is anticipated in the House – stay tuned for how that conversation plays out in the coming weeks.
This week, toxic chemical reforms (S.103) that stalled out at the end of last legislative session were given an initial airing in the Senate Health & Welfare committee. VCV is on the schedule to testify next week on this bill, and we will push for swift action. Also on tap next week is testimony on a bill to give Vermonters better legal tools to protect themselves if they’ve been harmed by toxic contamination, such as our neighbors in North Bennington with PFOA (S.197).
The Senate and House Agriculture committees began testimony on several bills related to forestry (right-to-practice forestry, S.101, and rural economic development concepts, S.276). We’ll be pushing to ensure legislation is adequately protective of our natural resources while also supporting working lands. We will also continue advocating for action this session on legislation (H.233) that would improve how Act 250 addresses forest fragmentation.
Thank you, as always, for making your voice heard on these critical initiatives now and throughout the session. We’re at the State House nearly every day, but we can’t do this work without your support in local communities throughout Vermont!