in the State House of Representatives
on March 15, 2022, by a vote of
Purpose: The purpose of H.606 was to mandate conserving 30% of Vermont land by 2030, and 50% by 2050. The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department will work with private conservation groups to achieve these mandates. Conserved land would gain "permanent protection" of a "natural state" of land, or could by subject to "long-term forest management."
To meet these mandates, Vermont would need to conserve another 6-8% of its private and public lands by 2030, and more than double its land conservation by 2050. One estimate suggests Vermont currently has conserved 22-24% of its private and public land, higher than the national average of 12%. These commitments mirror a Biden Administration executive order calling for the US to conserve 30% of land by 2030.
It is unclear what would happen if Vermont failed to meet these mandates, though conservation groups could conceivably sue Vermont for failing to address climate change quickly enough under the 2020 GWSA.
Analysis: Those voting YES believe greater conservation of land under H.606 will reduce the damage that climate change will have on Vermont ecosystems.
Those voting NO believe creating new mandates will only increase the cost of living and intensify Vermont’s housing crisis, if less land is available for residential and commercial development. Ultimately, this could result in a land grab against private landowners if they choose not to conserve their land.
As Recorded in the House Journal, Tuesday, March 15, 2022: “Shall the bill be amended as recommended by the Committee on Natural Resources, Fish, and Wildlife?, was decided in the affirmative. Yeas, 98. Nays, 42.” (Read the Journal, p. 558 - 563).
How They Voted
(Click on your Rep’s name to view their profile)
Sally Achey (R - Middletown Springs) – NO
Paul Lefebvre (R – Newark) – YES