The Salisbury Digester: Turning Waste into Energy

       Vermont Digger published a noteworthy story July 21 by reporter Sophia McDermott-Hughes. It’s about the largest anaerobic digester in the Northeast that has just begun full-scale production of renewable natural gas on the Goodrich Family Farm in Salisbury.

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Civil Society Supporting Farmers

The 2020 annual report of the Vermont Community Foundation describes some of its work to strengthen our local food system especially in the disruptive year of COVID.

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The Ones Who Gave Residential Solar a Price Hike

If you have solar panels connected to an electric grid in Vermont, you may have been caught off guard recently by a sizeable increase in a subtle change to the “Energy Efficiency Charge (EEC).”

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Commentary: Vermont’s Fourth Branch of Government

The Public Utility Commission, chaired by a noted climate warrior, makes up its own criterion – “societal benefit” – and may soon use that magical incantation to defeat citizen groups whose aesthetic objections would otherwise defeat a Big Solar project. Who voted for that?

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VT Implications after 18 year old wins Gun Rights ruling

Three years ago Vermont raised the age for purchasing any firearm from 18 to 21. But on July 13, a three judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a Federal law barring the sale of handguns to persons under 21 was unconstitutional, calling into question Vermont’s 2018 action.

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The Terrors of Climate Change

       Last week I reviewed the new book by physicist Steven Koonin entitled Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters, in which he explains how most of what you hear about climate science is, to put it mildly, exaggerated or insupportable.

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An Unsustainable Appetite for Spending

Steve Klein of the Joint Fiscal Office briefed the Pension and Benefits Task Force, which is looking into how to fix the state’s $6 billion unfunded pension liabilities, on the current state budget as well as impending budget pressures in the pipeline. Klein’s slide show revealed a frightening increase in spending with daunting implications for Vermont taxpayers.

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Two More Act 250 Horror Stories

The Burlington Free Press’s excellent reporter Dan D’Ambrosio reported last Thursday on two more horror stories from the application of  Act 250, the development control law.

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Commentary: Climate Council Wants “A River of Money”

The Vermont Climate Council, charged with coming up with a plan to reduce Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions to 26% below 2005 levels by 2025, 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, and 80% below by 2050, is finally putting forward some details about what policies it will take to do this. While they have not yet discussed many specifics of how to pay for these programs, member Richard Cowart summed it up at their July 26 meeting saying “a river of money” needs to be diverted into the cause. A river indeed!

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Can Vermont Follow New Hampshire's Tax Rate Reduction?

Drew Cline of the Josiah Bartlett Center in New Hampshire noted that New Hampshire’s Business Profits Tax rate was 8.5% in 2015, making it the third-highest corporate income tax in New England, after Maine and Connecticut.

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