Introduced by Representatives Bouricius of Burlington, Alderman of Middlebury, Bressor of Richmond, Corren of Burlington, Kehler of Pomfret and McCormack of Rutland City
Referred to Committee on
Subject: Economic development; eco-market initiative
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to create an eco-market program. Under this program, an advisory committee would be created:
(1) to identify emerging environmentally sustainable and beneficial technologies or products that may be profitably developed within the state;
(2) to evaluate proposals to develop those technologies, and advise funding agencies with respect to their development within the state;
(3) to increase funding for these types of development;
(4) to evaluate proposals from these businesses for regulatory or tax policy change that would increase their market share, be economically beneficial to the people of the state, and enhance the quality of the environment;
(5) to recommend appropriate revision of the purchasing practices of state and municipal government; and (6) to develop and submit coordinated proposals for legislative, regulatory and government purchasing changes to carry out the purposes of this act.
AN ACT RELATING TO A COMPREHENSIVE ECO-MARKET INITIATIVE
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 10 V.S.A. chapter 13 is redesignated to read:
CHAPTER 13. *[
VERMONT INDUSTRIAL BUILDING AUTHORITY]*
ECO-MARKET INITIATIVE PROGRAM
Sec. 2. 10 V.S.A. § 280 is added to read:
§ 280. LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND PURPOSE
(a) Creating new, environmentally sound and good paying jobs is a priority for the state.
(b) To build a vital economy, Vermont must increase exports to bring capital into Vermont or reduce imports, such as energy or food, that drain capital out of the state.
(c) Vermont and its businesses should have a development component that identifies and produces environmentally sustainable and beneficial technologies that are likely to become more in demand, by consumer choice or by governmental regulation, in the state and throughout the world, as has been evidenced by the recent growth of demand throughout the world for environmentally friendly products.
(d) Through careful coordination of business incentives, regulation, tax policy and state and municipal government purchasing practices, Vermont can help state businesses to identify and develop emerging environmentally sustainable and beneficial technologies, can accelerate the creation of such businesses within this state, and can make regulatory, tax policy and state and local government purchasing adjustments that increase the success rate of these businesses, while advancing the interests of the people of the state as a whole, increasing manufacturing and other jobs, and increasing the cost-effective protection of the environment.
Sec. 3. 10 V.S.A. § 280a is added to read:
§ 280a. DEFINITIONS
For purposes of this chapter, "environmentally sustainable" means able to be maintained for an indefinite period into the future, without causing or adding to the consumption of nonrenewable resources and without creating waste products or byproducts of a type or to an extent that cannot be naturally accommodated by the natural environment in a way that does not change or stress the life systems of that natural environment.
Sec. 4. 10 V.S.A. § 280b is added to read:
§ 280b. ECO-MARKET ADVISORY COMMITTEE
(a) Membership. The governor shall appoint an eco-market advisory committee to consist of the following:
(1) Persons with experience and training in environmental protection, environmental engineering, business, product development, marketing, ecology, and energy efficient construction.
(2) Representatives of environmental interest groups and organized labor.
(3) Delegates of the agencies of natural resources, transportation, development and community affairs, the departments of public service, employment and training, agriculture, food and markets and state buildings, the legislative council staff, and the University of Vermont.
(b) General duties. The advisory committee, acting as a whole or by means of subcommittees, shall perform functions established in this chapter to: identify emerging environmentally sustainable and beneficial technologies that may be profitably developed within the state; evaluate proposals to develop those technologies (giving due consideration to life-cycle costs and environmental externalities and giving due consideration to any likely impacts on existing supplier networks), and advise funding agencies with respect to their development within the state; solicit the assistance of and coordinate the input of other government programs, including the Job Start program and the small business investment company; increase the degree of funding for which the applicant may be eligible from a funding agency; evaluate proposals for regulatory or tax policy change or for revising the purchasing practices of state and municipal government; and make coordinated proposals for legislative, regulatory and government purchasingchanges to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
(c) Beneficial technology identification.
(1) The committee shall administer a program component that develops criteria for the identification of environmentally beneficial technology that feasibly could be developed and produced in the state. As part of this program, the committee shall solicit input from line personnel within and outside state government for suggestions as to opportunities for increased use of technologies that are environmentally beneficial. This input shall be coordinated and managed together with material gathered from other sources and information gained through the experience and expertise of the committee members, and shall be made available to interested persons.
(2) One element of these criteria shall focus on whether the technologies proposed are environmentally sustainable and beneficial in nature. Technologies or products may be eligible under this element if they are environmentally beneficial, as may be evidenced by the following:
(A) Use of post-consumer recycled paper or other material in products or packaging.
(B) Use of material that avoids hazardous byproducts that are present in conventional alternatives or created in the manufacture of conventional alternatives.
(C) Products or product containers that may be reused, or more easily recycled instead of being subject to disposal.
(D) Air pollution reduction and ozone protection products or technologies.
(E) Energy efficient products or technologies, and those fueled by nonpolluting sources of energy.
(F) Water pollution reduction products and technologies, including septic systems, and waste disposal or avoidance systems, technologies or products.
(G) Water source purification technologies or products.
(H) Environmental testing technology.
(I) Sludge and septage control and beneficial usage.
(J) Storm water control.
(K) Products or technologies relating to agriculture, and the reduction of agriculture-related pollution, increases in efficiency of agricultural operations, and development of increased agricultural product diversity.
(L) Technologies and products alternative to traditional transportation technologies, nonpolluting fuels or technologies, ridesharing and transportation coordination improvement methods.
(M) Technologies that convert waste products to environmentally beneficial products.
(3) Technologies and products may be termed environmentally beneficial even though they are not specified in this subsection, according to criteria developed by the committee, if they otherwise qualify and advance the public good.
(4) One element of these criteria shall be related to the feasibility of product development and production. In review under this element, products and technologies shall be considered with respect to the status of their development. In particular, consideration shall be given to: whether the raw materials, labor, and engineering resources are available within the state sufficient to allow development, production, and delivery of the product or technology; the need to establish a coordinated educational component to prepare the emerging work force and to provide any necessary retraining; whether the product or technology exists today in a form that is available to consumers but is not sufficiently available physically; whether the technology does not yet exist but is expected to be developed, soon, somewhere; thorough economic analysis that includes consideration of life-cycle costs, environmental externalities, and likely impacts on existing supplier networks; and whether the technology or product does not exist but, for environmental or economic reasons, dramatic technological breakthroughs in the area are greatly needed.
(d) Review of proposals for funding. On receipt of a proposal for funding an environmentally beneficial technology, the committee shall review the proposal and provide comments to the funding agency concerned. The evaluation shall include conclusions with respect to whether or not the product or technology is environmentally beneficial and comments with regard to its feasibility for development within the state. If the committee report strongly supports a particular proposal, then any state fundingagency shall give that proposal additional points in any funding decision, notwithstanding the fact that the funding agency's generic funding formulae may not coincide exactly with the criteria established under this chapter. Effective three years from the date of appointment of the committee members, no less than 10 percent of the loans or grants authorized by the Vermont industrial development authority, created under chapter 12 of this title, shall be allocated to applicants that have received reports under this subsection, strongly recommending that they be funded by the state.
(e) Preliminary evaluation regarding other technology incentives. On receipt of a proposal with respect to an environmentally beneficial technology, the committee shall provide the applicant with an assessment of the chances of later regulatory, taxing, or state agency or municipal purchasing amendments or requirements that could increase the market share of the product involved, be economically beneficial to the people of the state, and enhance the quality of the environment.
(f) Conversion of military equipment manufacturing facilities. The committee shall evaluate the status of the state's manufacturers of military equipment and shall make appropriate recommendations relating to the conversion and diversification of facilities that manufacture military equipment, any necessary retraining of the work force, and the transition of communities where large concentrations of these workers live.
(g) Regulatory, tax, or state purchasing analyses and recommendations. The committee shall entertain applications from Vermont manufacturers of environmentallybeneficial technologies or products for regulatory, tax policy, or state agency or municipal purchasing policy support. On receipt, the committee shall consider whether the product in question is actually environmentally beneficial, and if so, the committee should consider the following:
(1) Whether it should be allowed to function as an alternative to a currently allowed product or technology.
(2) Whether a regulatory standard should be increased to require the performance offered by the product or technology involved.
(3) What the environmental and economic impact of a regulatory change might be for the state as a whole (giving due consideration to life-cycle costs, environmental externalities, and the likely impacts on the existing supplier network).
(4) The prospective availability of the product or technology to the relevant segment of the public.
(5) What are other issues relating to increasing a regulatory threshold to favoring products that perform like the product in question.
(6) Whether the product should be entitled to tax policy support, in terms of its raw materials, manufacturing equipment requirements, consumer purchase and installation, or selective consumer availability.
(7) Whether the product would be cost effective, if used by state agencies and municipalities in the conduct of state and municipal business, and whether such usewould be useful in terms of market share and for purposes served by pilot projects.
(h) After completing the analysis under subsection (g) of this section, the committee shall make appropriate recommendations for regulatory or statutory change to the governor, the general assembly, and the standing agencies with jurisdiction over the product or process involved.
Sec. 5. 3 V.S.A. § 2471 is amended to read:
§ 2471. DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
(a) The department of economic development is created within the agency of development and community affairs as the successor to and the continuation of the department of development.
(b) The department, in addition to its other duties, shall promote the eco-market initiative program.
Sec. 6. CODIFICATION
Secs. 2 through 4 of this act will be codified as 10 V.S.A. chapter 13.