Montpelier, VT – Today, leading environmental groups came together to release the 2016 Environmental Common Agenda of legislative priorities for 2016.

Vermont Conservation Voters (VCV) developed the Environmental Common Agenda, which represents the priorities of a range of organizations across Vermont working on matters affecting our shared natural resources, the character of our communities, and the health of Vermonters. In addition to VCV, participating groups include: Vermont Natural Resources Council, Vermont Public Interest Research Group, Vermont Chapter of the Sierra Club, Conservation Law Foundation, and Toxics Action Center.

Lauren Hierl, political director of Vermont Conservation Voters noted: “Leading environmental groups are united in our support for policies that will help Vermonters transition to a clean energy economy, while maintaining healthy forests, our working landscape, and vibrant communities – all things that make Vermont so special.”

Top environmental policy priorities this year include:

  • A Clean Energy Future, specifically:
    • Put a price on carbon pollution and use the proceeds to cut taxes and help all Vermonters transition off fossil fuels
    • Maintain our commitment to investing in energy efficiency and thoughtful, strategic deployment of renewable energy
    • Divest State investments from fossil fuels
  • Forest Integrity, specifically:
    • Incentivize landowners to conserve forestland
    • Improve planning and land use tools to maintain forests
    • Increase funding for forest conservation
    • Support a sustainable forest economy

Additional legislative priorities include: authorizing designation of critical habitat for Vermont’s threatened and endangered species; maintaining Act 250 and funding for conservation programs; requiring registration and inspection of dams; and banning polluting microbeads from personal care products sold in Vermont.

The issues highlighted in the Environmental Common Agenda will be focal issues in VCV’s 2016 Environmental Scorecard, and VCV will educate voters about their elected officials’ leadership, support, or opposition to these goals.

Hierl added: “The legislature has long recognized that we can and must do our part to combat global warming, and that a healthy environment is essential to a thriving Vermont. We look forward to working with legislators to move these environmental priorities forward this year.”

The full 2016 Vermont Environmental Common Agenda can be found at: