It was a long and tiring Legislative session this year in Vermont.
On a very warm Saturday in May, Vermont’s legislators headed home. But not before making some good progress on key CLF priorities.
The key water quality bill, H.35, focused on Lake Champlain. It sets a roadmap for further work. It provides funding for some additional staff for education and outreach as well as enforcement. It also creates a Clean Water Fund to keep track of funds spent on water quality.
The RESET law, H.40, finally eliminates the odd practice in Vermont that allowed the sale of Vermont created renewable energy credits to customers in other states while still claiming the power is renewable for meeting Vermont’s renewable energy goals.
The bill would set the highest standard of any place in the region for renewable energy – 75% by 2032. Much of this energy will come from existing facilities including from power imported from Hydro Quebec.
The new law will also require that 10% of the electricity in 2032 come from smaller scale renewable projects and provides for a new innovative program that encourages utilities to reduce overall fossil fuel use including from transportation and heating. A troubling amendment that placed a cap on energy efficiency efforts was eliminated.
With growing development in downtown areas, disposing of contaminated soils has been challenging. A proposed bill, H.269, would have created a very broad exemption until new state rules are in place. CLF opposed the broad exemption and worked to strengthen the bill. As passed, the law provides a clear and safe way to manage soils from downtown developments. It avoids giving a broad handout to developers and makes sure that soils are managed to protect against any contact with people or water. It also provides a good test of effective soil management that should be helpful as the State develops rules.