Douglas seeks public support for Act 250 reform plan

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(Host) Governor Jim Douglas says he hopes to galvanize public support to convince the Legislature to pass a comprehensive Act 250 permit reform bill this year. Douglas says his comments are aimed at senate Democratic leaders.

The House Natural Resources committee has given its approval to a permit reform plan – one that consolidates the appeals process of Act 250. The proposal is now being reviewed by the House Appropriations committee and could be on the House floor for a vote next week.

Douglas wants to put pressure on the Senate to act on this bill in the coming weeks:

(Douglas) “My sense from talking to business leaders those who are trying to create jobs, who are deciding whether to stay or expand in Vermont is that the state permitting process the appeal route is what’s most critical.”

(Host) Senate President Pro Tempore Peter Welch says the senate wants to pass meaningful reform. But Welch says his chamber is not going to pass a bill that doesn’t protect the state’s environment:

(Welch) “I see the Senate making an effort to do it. But you know, sight unseen, the bill hasn’t been passed out of the House yet and under our arrangement the House is going to take the lead on putting a bill over her. Our commitment is to look at it, but our commitment to Vermonters is to do it right rather than have a political fig leaf that does it wrong.”

(Host) The governor will kick off his public campaign at a meeting Thursday with business leaders in St. Albans.

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