(Host) Governor Jim Douglas says he’ll ask the Vermont Environmental Board to make some key changes to Act 250 through the rule-making process if the Senate does not pass a comprehensive reform bill in the next few weeks. The Senate Natural Resources Committee is reviewing legislation passed by the House several weeks ago. Senate leaders say there are many problems with the bill and it’s unlikely that the Senate will have the time to take action on it this year.
If that happens, Governor Douglas says he’ll ask the Environmental Board to revise rules concerning who can qualify for party status in Act 250 hearings and when evidence can be introduced in these hearings. Douglas wants to narrow the role of groups like the Conservation Law Foundation in Act 250 appeals.
(Douglas) “I think it’s fair that we stop the eleventh hour hijacking of permit applications and insist that anyone who has a problem say so up front. The so called ‘speak now’ provision that’s in the bill that’s being considered – and that is to say that you really have to have an interest in the outcome of an application if you’re to be granted party status. So I think those changes are very reasonable.”
(Host) Senate leaders say they may agree to some of the provisions of the House bill. But it’s very unlikely that this agreement will include some of the most controversial elements of the House legislation.