H.926- AN ACT RELATING TO CHANGES TO ACT 250 - FOREST FRAGMENTATION DIVISION
in the State Senate
on September 16, 2020, by a vote of
Purpose: To put stricter Act 250 criteria in place for economic development in rural, forested areas.
Analysis: The underlying bill calls for creating a new trail maintenance program and stricter standards aiming to reduce forest fragmentation. The Senate decided to put the forest fragmentation part of the bill for a vote (Sections 8 to 11).
In rural areas where animals cross from one “forest block” another, development will be constricted. The range of Act 250 regulatory interest now extends to the potential development’s surrounding “ecosystem,” a broad term which will be defined further by Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources.
An Act 250 development “permit shall be granted only if impacts to forest blocks and connecting habitat are avoided, minimized, and mitigated.” Thus, an Act 250 permit will require more lawyers to underwrite the regulatory paperwork and more time to acquire.
Those voting YES believe wildlife and scenic landscapes need more protection from economic development than what was already provided through the Act 250 permitting process.
Those voting NO believe rural Vermont is sorely in need of businesses willing to invest in their communities. This legislation will make rural development more difficult and unlikely, widening the standard-of-living gap between urban and rural Vermont. Act 250 was already sufficient for protecting wildlife.
As Recorded in the Senate Journal, Wednesday, September 16, 2020: “Thereupon, the question, Shall the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as recommended by the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy in Secs. 8 through 11 was agreed to on a roll call, Yeas 24, Nays 6.” (Read the Journal, p. 1308 - 1314).
Watch the floor debate on YouTube HERE.
How They Voted
Timothy Ashe (D/P-Chittenden) – YES
Becca Balint (D-Windham) – YES
Philip Baruth (D-Chittenden) – YES
Joseph Benning (R-Caledonia) – YES
Christopher Bray (D-Addison) – YES
Randy Brock (R-Franklin) – NO
Brian Campion (D-Bennington) – YES
Alison Clarkson (D-Windsor) – YES
Brian Collamore (R-Rutland) – NO
Ann Cummings (D-Washington) – YES
Ruth Hardy (D-Addison) – YES
Cheryl Hooker (D-Rutland) – YES
Debbie Ingram (D-Chittenden) – YES
M. Jane Kitchel (D-Caledonia) – YES
Virginia Lyons (D-Chittenden) – YES
Mark MacDonald (D-Orange) – YES
Richard Mazza (D-Chittenden-Grand Isle) – YES
Richard McCormack (D-Windsor) – YES
James McNeil (R-Rutland) – YES
Alice Nitka (D-Windsor District) – YES
Corey Parent (R-Franklin) – NO
Chris Pearson (P-Chittenden) – YES
Andrew Perchlik (D-Washington) – YES
Anthony Pollina (P/D-Washington) – YES
John Rodgers (D-Essex-Orleans) – NO
Richard Sears (D-Bennington) – YES
Michael Sirotkin (D-Chittenden) – YES
Robert Starr (D-Essex-Orleans) – NO
Richard Westman (R-Lamoille) – NO
Jeanette White (D-Windham) – YES
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