Legislative Update – Week 5
This week at the Vermont State House, testimony continued on numerous environmental initiatives. We continued advocating for our top goals this year — including long-term clean water funding, climate action, better protections from toxic chemicals, and modernizing Act 250.
VCV released the 2019 Environmental Common Agenda at the Vermont State House this week. Click here to read the Environmental Common Agenda for 2019.
We were also thrilled to present theEnvironmental Lifetime Achievement Award to former Representative David Deen for his many years of dedicated leadership on clean water and numerous other environmental initiatives.
CLEAN WATER: #CleanWaterVT
The Senate Committee on Natural Resources & Energy took extensive testimony this week on clean water initiatives and funding needs. The committee is also looking at how to disburse clean water funding in a manner that will effectively get money on the ground to high priority projects that will put us on track to achieve our clean water goals.
We will continue pushing lawmakers to enact a new, dedicated long-term revenue source for clean water, and a transparent, accountable mechanism for getting that funding to high priority clean water projects.
Following the release of our Climate Action Plan for 2019: A Blueprint for Progress, work is continuing to develop these concepts into legislation. Conversation in continuing in the House Energy & Technology Committee, as well as the House Transportation Committee, on climate policy solutions. The Vermont Climate & Health Alliance was at the State House Thursday making the public health case for climate action. We continue advocating for progress on our six-step Climate Action Plan, which will make a real difference in helping Vermonters — particularly lower income Vermonters — weatherize their homes, buy more efficient vehicles, and hold the state accountable for meeting its climate commitments.
Learn more about what’s happening on energy and climate change with our LIVE Climate Dispatch from the State House, posted every Friday of the legislative session. Click here to view this week’s Dispatch, and sign up to receive the video in your inbox by clicking here.
Testimony continued this week on several toxic chemical bills. The Senate Education Committee passed S.40, a bill to require that drinking water is tested for lead contamination in all Vermont schools and childcare facilities, and that lead-contaminated water supplies are cleaned up. We’ll continue working to ensure the bill is protective of children’s health and implemented quickly and effectively.
In the Senate Judiciary Committee, testimony continued on legal remedies to help Vermonters harmed by toxic contamination. Industry lobbyists came out in force to confuse and derail this bill, but we will be standing up to protect Vermonters’ rights and hold toxic polluters accountable. Additionally, testimony began in the Senate Health & Welfare Committee on legislation to better protect children from chemicals of high concern in children’s products sold in Vermont. This bill was passed by the Legislature but vetoed by Gov. Scott last year, but we will be pushing to get this important law over the finish line this year. After years of testimony on this issue, we hope that lawmakers will move on this bill without delay.
ACT 250: #Act250
The House Natural Resources, Fish & Wildlife Committee spent many hours this week on proposed Act 250 modernization legislation, building off the recommendations in the report produced by the Act 250 Commission. VCV will be working to ensure Act 250 modernization proposals will better protect our natural resources and address challenges like climate change, while supporting our working lands and traditional settlement patterns. Partners testified on promoting development in smart growth locations, how to prevent forest fragmentation, and on how we might thoughtfully consider development on working lands.
As you can see, lawmakers are hard at work on many environmental priority issues. However, we continue to see the impact of the numerous corporate lobbyists trying to weaken or kill these bills. Legislators need to keep hearing from constituents who care about these issues and want to see real progress.
Taking the time to connect with your legislators to share your priorities makes a real difference.Click here to find your legislators.