Senate Considering Energy Siting Bill

The next few days will be very important in the ongoing effort to move Vermont toward clean, renewable energy and protect and build on the over 16,000 clean energy jobs in Vermont.

S.230, an energy siting reform bill, passed out of the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee on a 5-0 vote and is expected to hit the Senate floor within the next day.

This is a promising bill that could empower communities across the state to take on a greater role in Vermont’s clean energy transition.

It’s likely opponents of renewable energy will try to use this opportunity to pass amendments to the bill that would slow down, or in some cases stop the development of clean energy in our state (a ban on wind power, for example).

If you want to make sure this doesn’t happen, call the State House at 802-828-2228 or 1-800-322-5616 and leave a message for your senator(s) asking them to support S.230 and oppose any unfriendly amendments to the bill.

The lines are open from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.

S.230 includes some important provisions that could help Vermont on the path toward 90% renewable energy by 2050. Provisions such as:

  • Incentivizing solar construction on the built environment, like parking lots and landfills.
  • Creating a full-time staff position at the Public Service Board to assist the public in navigating the Board’s process and provide citizens with more information.
  • Encouraging towns and regions to create plans that are geared toward hitting Vermont’s energy goals in a way that works toward local priorities as well, and giving those plans a greater say in the development process.

There’s certainly room for improvement in the bill, and VPIRG will continue to work throughout the legislative session to ensure it works for both Vermont’s renewable energy future and our communities. And to be clear, whatever happens, Vermont must continue to push toward our ambitious but utterly necessary renewable energy goals.

What this bill does not need, however, is to be saddled with bad amendments – amendments, for instance, that would essentially ban new wind energy in Vermont or make it harder to build solar.

You can help: Take a moment to leave a message at 802-828-2228 or 1-800-322-5616, asking your senators to oppose unfriendly amendments to S.230 on the Senate floor.