S.350

AN ACT RELATING TO ENERGY INDEPENDENCE AND ECONOMIC PROSPERITY

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

* * * State Agency Energy Plan * * *

Sec. 1.  3 V.S.A. § 2291(c) is amended to read:

(c)  The secretary of administration with the cooperation of the commissioners of public service and of buildings and general services shall develop and oversee the implementation of a state agency energy plan for state government.  The plan shall be adopted by June 30, 2005, modified as necessary, and readopted by the secretary on or before January 15 of each fifth year subsequent to 2005.  The plan shall accomplish the following objectives and requirements:

(1)  To conserve resources, save energy, and reduce pollution.  The plan shall devise strategies to identify to the greatest extent feasible, all opportunities for conservation of resources through environmentally and economically sound infrastructure development, purchasing, and fleet management, and investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency available to the state which are cost effective on a life cycle cost basis.

(2)  To consider state policies and operations that affect energy use.

(3)  To devise a strategy to implement or acquire all prudent opportunities and investments in as prompt and efficient a manner as possible.

(4)  To include appropriate provisions for monitoring resource and energy use and evaluating the impact of measures undertaken.

(5)  To identify education, management, and other relevant policy changes that are a part of the implementation strategy.

(6)  To devise a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  The plan shall include steps to encourage more efficient trip planning, to reduce the average fuel consumption of the state fleet, and to encourage alternatives to solo-commuting state employees for commuting and job-related travel.

(7)  to provide, where feasible, for the installation of renewable energy systems including solar energy equipment, which shall include equipment for limiting solar gain, as part of the new construction or major renovation of any state building.  The cost of implementation and installation will be identified as part of the budget process presented to the general assembly.

* * * Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets * * *

Sec. 2.  6 V.S.A. § 1(c),(d), and (e) are added to read:

(c)  The secretary shall provide data and funding recommendations to the Vermont resource trust with regard to:

(1)  Funding and implementing the natural resources conservation service (NRCS) grassland reserve program in order to increase carbon sequestration.

(2)  Providing cost-share assistance for farmers to purchase manure injection equipment to retrofit existing manure spreaders or purchase new equipment.

(3)  Providing cost-share assistance for farms to develop and implement nutrient management plans for smaller dairy farms and continuing to provide annual assistance so that existing plans on medium-sized farms continue to be implemented.

(4)  Providing cost-share assistance under the farm agronomic practices program so that farms implement cover crops and other soil erosion and land cover practices.

(5)  Other ways to create incentives for carbon sequestration on farm and forest land, Vermont’s “green bank.”

(d)  The secretary shall continue the agency’s methane capture program and shall collaborate with the Vermont resource trust with regard to the availability of additional funds for these purposes.  The goal of the methane digester portion of the program shall be to digest and use 15 percent of the state’s dairy cattle manure by 2012, and 50 percent by 2028.  The goal of a second aspect of this emissions reduction program shall be to increase the percentage of manure composted on poultry and on appropriate livestock farms to 25 percent by 2012, and 50 percent by 2028. 

(e)  The secretary shall develop recommendations for measures to reduce the loss and fragmentation of primary agricultural soils located in rural areas.  The state’s goal is to reduce the rate at which agricultural lands are converted to development by 25 percent by 2012 and to reduce that rate by 50 percent by 2020. 

* * * Air Quality * * *

Sec. 3.  10 V.S.A. § 552 is amended to read:

§ 552.  DEFINITIONS

As used in this chapter:

* * *

(11)  “Greenhouse gas” means any chemical or physical substance that is emitted into the air and that the secretary may reasonably anticipate to cause or contribute to climate change, including, but not limited to, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride.

Sec. 3a.  10 V.S.A. § 578 is amended to read:

§ 578.  GREENHOUSE GAS REDUCTION GOALS

(a)  General goal of greenhouse gas reduction.  It is the goal of the state to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from within the geographical boundaries of the state and those emissions outside the boundaries of the state that are caused by the use of  energy in Vermont in order to make an appropriate contribution to achieving the regional goals of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from the 1990 baseline by:

(1)  25 percent by January 1, 2012;

(2)  50 percent by January 1, 2028;

(3)  if practicable using reasonable efforts, 75 percent by January 1, 2050.

(b)  Climate change action plan.  The secretary will coordinate with the governor's commission on climate change established by executive order and will consult with any interested members of Vermont's business, agricultural, labor, and environmental communities in developing a climate change action plan.  The secretary shall notify each member of the general assembly of the development of this plan and of the opportunity for public comment.  This plan shall be developed in a manner that implements state energy policy, as specified in 30 V.S.A. § 202a. Not later than September 1, 2007, the secretary shall present this plan to the committees of the general assembly having jurisdiction over matters relating to the environment, agriculture, energy, transportation, commerce, and public health.

(c)  Implementation of climate change action plan.  In order to facilitate the state's compliance with the goals established in this section, all state agencies shall consider, whenever practicable, any increase or decrease in greenhouse gas emissions in their decision-making procedures with respect to the purchase and use of equipment and goods; the siting, construction, and maintenance of buildings; the assignment of personnel; and the planning, design and operation of programs, services and infrastructure.  In addition, on or before January 1, 2010, giving due regard to the recommendations of the Vermont resource trust, the governor’s commission on climate change and its plenary group, the Vermont council on rural development, and others, the secretaries of the agencies of natural resources and transportation, and the commissioner of public service each shall adopt rules, in accordance with 3 V.S.A. chapter 25, to make appropriate and proportionate progress within their respective areas of jurisdiction to meet the goals established by this section.  These rules shall be designed to:

(1)  minimize costs and maximize the total benefit to the state, encourage

innovation, stimulate investment in low greenhouse gas technologies and

encourage early action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;

(2)  ensure that compliance with the rules furthers rather than conflicts with federal and state ambient air quality standards and goals to reduce

toxic air contaminant emissions;

(3)  weigh overall societal potential benefits, including reductions in other air pollutants, diversification of energy sources, and other benefits to the economy, environment and public health;

(4)  ensure that activities undertaken to comply with the rules do not disproportionately impact low-income communities;

(5)  minimize the administrative burden of implementing and

complying with the rules;

(6)  consider the significance of the contribution of each source or category of sources to state-wide greenhouse gas emissions; and

(7)  result in greenhouse gas emission reductions that are real, permanent, quantifiable, verifiable and enforceable.

(d)  Cost determinations.  To determine the cost effectiveness of these rules, the secretary or commissioner shall accord to greenhouse gas emissions a cost per ton of carbon dioxide as determined by the current Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or federal allowance price, whichever is higher.

(e)  Report on effectiveness of rules.  The secretaries and the commissioner shall work cooperatively to monitor and enforce compliance with this section and the rules adopted pursuant to this section.  Reports on the effectiveness of these rules shall be submitted to the legislative committees on natural resources and energy and on transportation on July 1, 2012, and triennially thereafter.

(f)  Advocacy for cap and trade program for greenhouse gases.  In order to increase the likelihood of the state meeting the goals established under this section, the secretary of natural resources and commissioner of public service shall advocate before appropriate regional or national entities and working groups in favor of the establishment of a regional or national cap and trade program for greenhouse gas emissions.  This may take the form of an expansion of the existing regional greenhouse gas initiative (RGGI), or it may entail the creation of an entirely new and separate regional or national cap and trade initiative.

Sec. 4.  10 V.S.A. § 580 is added to read:

§ 580.  GREENHOUSE GAS INVENTORIES; REGISTRY

(a)  Inventory and forecasting.  The secretary shall work, in conjunction with other states or a regional consortium, to establish a periodic, consistent, and complete inventory of greenhouse gas emissions and sinks, and an accompanying forecast of future greenhouse gas emissions in at least five- and ten-year increments, out to the year 2030.  The initial version of this inventory shall be published by no later than July 1, 2009, and updates shall be published triennially thereafter.  The forecast shall reflect projected growth, as well as the implementation of scheduled policy initiatives.  The inventory shall reflect all natural- and human-caused emissions generated within the state, as well as emissions associated with energy imported and consumed in the state.  The secretary shall consult with the Vermont resource trust with regard to the trust providing funding to assist in implementation of this section.

(b)  Emissions reporting.  By no later than January 15, 2009, the secretary shall develop rules to require, in phases, the reporting and verification of statewide greenhouse gas emissions and to monitor and eventually enforce compliance with this program.  The requirements shall include provisions for owner reporting according to an accessible and easy-to-understand format that will yield information with regard to all significant greenhouse gas emissions in a type and format that a regional registry can accommodate.  In addition, the rules shall:

(1)  Require the monitoring and annual public reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from all significant sources beginning with the sources or categories of sources that contribute the most to statewide emissions.  Reporting should be required on an organization-wide basis within the state, as well as on a significant-emitter-by-significant-emitter basis.  At any time before an entity is subject to reporting requirements under the rules, the entity shall be allowed to report emissions associated with its own activities and with any programs it may implement in order to reduce its emissions.

(2)  Account for greenhouse gas emissions from all electricity consumed in the state, including transmission and distribution line losses from electricity generated within the state or imported from outside the state.

(3)  Ensure rigorous and consistent accounting of emissions, and provide reporting tools and formats to ensure collection of necessary data.  Emission reports shall be verified through self-certification and shall be subject to spot checks by the department of environmental conservation; however, in order to qualify for future registry purposes, reports should undergo third party verification.  Reporting of emissions from greenhouse gas reduction projects shall qualify for reporting when they are identified as such and adhere to equally rigorous quantification standards.

(4)  Ensure that major greenhouse gas emission sources maintain comprehensive records of all reported greenhouse gas emissions.

(c)  Registry.  The secretary shall work, in conjunction with other states or a regional consortium, to establish a regional or national greenhouse gas registry that allows for the greatest possible flexibility in order to accommodate the range of greenhouse gas mitigation approaches that are likely to evolve.

(1)  The registry shall be designed to apply to the entire state and to as large a geographic area beyond state boundaries as is possible.

(2)  It shall accommodate as broad an array of sectors, sources, facilities and approaches as is possible, and shall allow sources to start as far back in time as is permitted by good data, affirmed by third-party verification.

(3)  It shall accommodate registration of project-based reductions or “offsets” that are equally rigorously quantified.

(4)  It shall incorporate safeguards adequate to ensure that reductions are not double-counted by multiple registry participants, and to ensure appropriate transparency.

(5)  The state and its political subdivisions shall be able to participate in the registry for purposes of registering reductions associated with their programs, direct activities, or efforts, including the registration of emission  reductions associated with the stationary and mobile sources they own, lease, or operate.  Similarly, the state and its political subdivisions should be allowed to participate in emission trading if and when such a program is developed and authorized. 

(d)  Rules.  The secretary may adopt rules to implement the provisions of this section and shall review existing and proposed international, federal, and state greenhouse gas emission reporting programs and make reasonable efforts to promote consistency among the programs established pursuant to this section and other programs, and to streamline reporting requirements on greenhouse gas emission sources.  Nothing in this section shall limit a state agency from adopting any rule within its authority.

* * * Pollution Abatement Facilities * * *

Sec. 5.  10 V.S.A. § 1278(a) is amended to read:

 (a)  Findings.  The general assembly finds that the state shall protect Vermont’s lakes, rivers, and streams from pollution by implementing programs to prevent sewage spills to Vermont waters and by requiring emergency planning to limit the damage from spills which do occur.  In addition, the general assembly finds it to be cost-effective and generally beneficial to the environment to continue state efforts to ensure energy efficiency in the operation of treatment facilities.

* * * Solid Waste Planning * * *

Sec. 6.  10 V.S.A. § 6604(a) and (c) are amended to read:

(a)  No later than April 30, 1988 the secretary shall publish and adopt, after notice and public hearing pursuant to chapter 25 of Title 3, a solid waste management plan which sets forth a comprehensive state-wide strategy for the management of waste, including whey.  No later than July 1, 1991, the secretary shall publish and adopt, after notice and public hearing pursuant to chapter 25 of Title 3, a hazardous waste management plan, which sets forth a comprehensive statewide strategy for the management of hazardous waste.

(1)(A)  The plans shall be based upon the following priorities, in descending order:

(A)(i)  the greatest feasible reduction in the amount of waste generated;

(B)(ii)  reuse and recycling of waste to reduce to the greatest extent feasible the volume remaining for processing and disposal;

(C)(iii)  waste processing to reduce the volume or toxicity of the waste stream necessary for disposal;

(D)(iv)  land disposal of the residuals.

(B)  Processing and disposal alternatives shall be preferred which do not foreclose the future ability of the state to reduce, reuse and recycle waste. In determining feasibility, the secretary shall evaluate alternatives in terms of their expected life-cycle costs.

(2)  The plans shall be revised at least once every five years and shall include:

(A)  methods to reduce and remove material from the waste stream, including commercially generated and other organic wastes, used clothing, and construction and demolition debris, and to separate, collect, and recycle, treat or dispose of specific waste materials that create environmental, health, safety, or management problems, including, but not limited to, tires, batteries, obsolete electronic equipment, and unregulated hazardous wastes.  These portions of the plans shall include strategies to assure recycling in the state, and to prevent the incineration or other disposal of marketable recyclables.  They shall consider both the current solid waste stream and its projected changes, and shall be based on:

(i)  an analysis of the volume and nature of wastes generated in the state, the sources of those wastes, and the current fate or disposition of those wastes;

(ii)  an assessment of the feasibility and cost of recycling each type of waste, including an assessment of the feasibility of providing the option of single source recycling;

(iii)  a survey of existing and potential markets for each type of waste that can be recycled;

(B)  a proposal for the development of facilities and programs necessary at the state, regional or local level to achieve the priorities identified in subdivision (a)(1) of this section.  Particular consideration shall be given to the need for additional regional or local composting facilities, the need to expand the collection of commercially generated organic wastes, and the cost effectiveness of developing single stream waste management infrastructure adequate to serve the entire population, which may include material recovery centers.  These portions of the plan shall be based, in part, on an assessment of the status, capacity, and life expectancy of existing treatment and disposal facilities, and they shall include siting criteria for waste management facilities, and shall establish requirements for full public involvement.

(3)  A goal of the plans shall be to reach a per-capita diversion rate of 35 percent by 2012 and 50 percent by 2028.   The effectiveness of the plans shall be assessed no less frequently than every three years, with regard to progress in meeting these goals, and they shall be revised to be more aggressive if trends indicate the goals may not be met, with consideration given to instituting additional waste diversion measures, including the establishment of a

source-separated organics waste program and disallowing the landfilling of organic wastes.

(c)  The secretary shall hold public hearings, perform studies as required, conduct ongoing analyses, develop and promote prototype residential and commercial waste prevention programs, develop sector-specific waste minimization strategies in conjunction with affected parties and local communities, develop a statewide communications portal that will promote and keep citizens aware of effective waste reduction and minimization initiatives, and make recommendations to the general assembly with respect to the development of accessible, cost-effective and sustainable policies, strategies and educational and media campaigns that will promote cultural and behavioral changes across the state, leading to a reduction of the waste stream.  In this process, the secretary shall consult with manufacturers of commercial products and of packaging used with commercial products, retail sales enterprises, health and environmental advocates, waste management specialists, the general public, and state agencies.  The goal of the process is to ensure that packaging used and products sold in the state are not an undue burden to the state’s ability to manage its waste.  The secretary shall work with solid waste management districts to determine if cost‑effective engineering support could be provided to businesses wishing to reduce packaging and shipping material costs and shall seek voluntary changes on the part of the industrial and commercial sector in both their practices and the products they sell, so as to serve the purposes of this section.  In this process, the secretary shall encourage manufacturers to assure that end-of-life management solutions for their products are reasonable and consistent with the goal of reducing the environmental impact of waste.  The secretary may obtain voluntary compliance schedules from the appropriate industry or commercial enterprise, and shall entertain recommendations for alternative approaches.  The secretary shall report at the beginning of each biennium to the general assembly, with any recommendations or options for legislative consideration.

* * *

* * * Transportation * * *

Sec. 7.  19 V.S.A. § 10b is amended to read:

§ 10b.  STATEMENT OF POLICY; GENERAL

(a)  The agency shall be the responsible agency of the state for the development of transportation policy.  It shall develop a mission statement to reflect state transportation policy encompassing all modes of transportation, the need for transportation projects that will improve the state’s economic infrastructure, as well as the use of resources in efficient, coordinated, cost effective, and environmentally sound ways.  The agency shall coordinate education efforts with those of the Vermont resource trust established under 30 V.S.A. § 236 and those of local and regional planning entities to address conservation and efficiency opportunities and practices in local and regional transportation, and to support employer or local or regional government-led conservation, efficiency, rideshare, and bicycle programs and other innovative transportation advances, especially employer-based incentives.

(b)  In developing the state’s annual transportation program, the agency shall, consistent with the planning goals listed in 24 V.S.A. § 4302 as amended by No. 200 of the Acts of the 1987 Adj. Sess. (1988) and with appropriate consideration to local, regional, and state agency plans:

(1)  Develop or incorporate designs that provide safe and efficient transportation and promote economic opportunities for Vermonters and the best use of the state’s environmental and historic resources. 

(2)  Manage available funding to:

(A)  give priority to preserving the functionality of the existing transportation infrastructure; and

(B)  adhere to credible project delivery schedules.

* * *


Sec. 8.  19 V.S.A. § 10e is amended to read:

§ 10e.  STATEMENT OF POLICY; RAILROADS

(a)  The general assembly recognizes that rail service, both passenger and freight, is an integral part of the state’s transportation network. Accordingly, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the state of Vermont:

(1)  to To provide opportunities for rail passenger services by cooperating with the federal government, other states, and providers of those services, with priority to be given to the services likely to complement Vermont’s economic development efforts and meet the needs of the traveling public;.  Goals to increase passenger rail use will be in accordance with the agency’s rail plan.

(2)  to To preserve and modernize for continued freight railroad service those railroad lines, both within the state of Vermont and extending into adjoining states, which directly affect the economy of the state or provide connections to other railroad lines which directly affect the economy of the state;.  Goals to increase freight rail use will be in accordance with the agency’s rail plan.

(3)  in In those cases where continuation of freight railroad service is not economically feasible under present conditions, to preserve established railroad rights-of-way for future reactivation of railroad service, trail corridors, and other public purposes not inconsistent with future reactivation of railroad service; and.

(4)  to To seek federal aid for rail projects that implement this section’s policy goals.

(5)  To maintain and improve intercity bus and rail and freight and commuter rail services, and the necessary intermodal connections, and to increase the efficiency of equipment and the extent to which equipment selection and operation can limit or avoid the emission of greenhouse gases.

(6)  To plan for increased ridership with city‑to‑city and commuter rail service.

(b)  To complement the regular maintenance efforts of the lessee/operators of state-owned railroads, taking into account each line’s long-term importance to the state’s transportation network, economic development, the resources available to the lessee/operator and relevant provisions of leases and other agreements, the agency may develop programs to assist in major rehabilitation or replacement of obsolete bridges, structures, rails, and other fixtures. 

Sec. 9.  19 V.S.A. § 10f is amended to read:

§ 10f.  STATEMENT OF POLICY; PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

(a)  It shall be the state’s policy to make maximum use of available federal funds for the support of public transportation.  State operating support funds shall be included in agency operating budgets to the extent that funds are available. It shall be the state’s policy to support the maintenance of existing public transportation services and the creation of new service that is accessible and affordable to those who use these services.

(b)  The agency of transportation shall develop and periodically update a plan for investment in public transportation services and infrastructure as part of an integrated transportation system consistent with the goals established in 24 V.S.A. § 5083, and regional transportation development plan proposals and regional plans as required by 24 V.S.A. § 5089.

(1)  The plan shall include components that shall coordinate rideshare, public transit, park and ride, interstate, and bicycle and pedestrian planning and investment at the state, regional, and local levels, and create or expand regional connections within the state, in order to maximize interregional ridesharing and access to public transit.

(2)  The agency shall develop and make available to the traveling public a statewide online service that coordinates transportation options and provides web-based access to information for alternative transportation modes.

Sec. 10.  19 V.S.A. § 2310 is amended to read:

§ 2310.  PAVEMENT OF HIGHWAY SHOULDERS

(a)  Notwithstanding the provisions of section 10c of this title, it is the policy of the state to provide paved shoulders on major state highways with the intent to develop an integrated bicycle route system and make the shoulders safer for pedestrian traffic.  This shall not apply to the interstate highway and certain other limited access highways.

(b)  Any construction, or reconstruction, including upgrading and resurfacing projects on these highways, shall include paved shoulders unless the agency deems certain sections to be cost prohibitive maintain or improve existing access and road surface conditions for bicycles and pedestrians along the shoulders of these highways, unless the agency deems it to be cost prohibitive.

* * * Zoning * * *

Sec. 11.  24 V.S.A. § 4414 is amended to read:

§ 4414.  ZONING; PERMISSIBLE TYPES OF REGULATIONS

Any of the following types of regulations may be adopted by a municipality in its bylaws in conformance with the plan and for the purposes established in section 4302 of this title.

* * *

(14)  Green building incentives.  A municipality may encourage the use of low‑embodied energy in construction materials, planned neighborhood developments that allow for reduced use of fuel for transportation, and increased use of renewable technology by providing for reduced permit review or increased density, or both, for:

(A)  homes that meet standards established in the Vermont builds greener program–leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) for homes, or similar programs;

(B)  commercial or industrial buildings that meet significantly advanced construction standards for efficiency, as described in LEED, or other applicable advanced construction efficiency standards that address issues such as building size, use of renewable energy sources, compact development patterns, proximity to services, minimizing energy in transporting materials, use of local resources, use of embodied energy, and the use of comprehensive analytical tools that will result in structures and usage patterns that require less energy.

* * * Combined Heat and Power * * *

Sec. 12.  30 V.S.A. § 202(i) is added to read:

(i)  It shall be a goal of the electrical energy plan to assure, by 2028, that at least 60 MW of power are generated within the state by combined heat and power (CHP) facilities powered by renewable fuels or by non-qualifying SPEED resources, as defined in section 8002 of this title.  In order to meet this goal, the plan shall include incentives for development and strategies to identify locations in the state that would be suitable for CHP.  The plan shall include strategies to assure the consideration of CHP potential during any process related to the expansion of natural gas services in the state.

* * * Least-Cost Planning * * *

Sec. 13.  30 V.S.A. § 218c(a) is amended to read:

(a)(1)  A “least cost integrated plan” for a regulated electric or gas utility is a plan for meeting the public’s need for energy services, after safety concerns are addressed, at the lowest present value life cycle cost, including environmental and economic costs, through a strategy combining investments and expenditures on energy supply, transmission and distribution capacity, transmission and distribution efficiency, and comprehensive energy efficiency programs.  Economic costs shall be determined with due regard to the information developed under the provisions of 10 V.S.A. § 580, establishing a greenhouse gas registry, to the state’s progress in meeting its greenhouse gas reduction goals, and to the value of the financial risks associated with greenhouse gas emissions from various power sources.

* * *

Sec. 14.  VERMONT RESOURCE TRUST

(a)  The Vermont resource trust is established, to consist of nine members who shall not be members of the general assembly at the time of appointment.  Members shall include the state treasurer or a designee together with one member appointed by the speaker of the house, one member appointed by the committee on committees, and two members appointed by the governor, one of whom shall be a board member of the Vermont climate collaborative.  In addition, there shall be a chair and a vice chair appointed by joint action of the speaker of the house, the committee on committees, and the governor, and two additional public members appointed in this manner.  Members shall be appointed who have skills and knowledge that will support the needs of the trust, which may include persons with knowledge of business, “green” business and technology, economics, public health, public utilities, ecological science, carbon trading, transportation and land use planning and development, forestry and ecology, waste management, and education. 

(b)  The powers of the trust are vested in its members, and a quorum shall consist of five members.  No action of the trust shall be considered valid unless the action is supported by a majority vote of its members.  The trust shall be entitled to staff assistance from the natural resources board and from the agency of natural resources, which shall coordinate any requested assistance from state agencies and departments.  The trust shall invite public input, form task forces, work with stakeholder groups and state entities, work with local, state-based, and national interest groups, and take other appropriate steps to gather information and develop its recommendations.

(c)  The primary mission of the trust shall be to consider the recommendations of the governor’s commission on climate change and its plenary group and the recommendations of the Vermont council on rural development:

(1)  to identify barriers to be overcome in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of the state;

(2)  to identify areas that merit priority consideration in this regard because of their ease of implementation and their potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;

(3)  to develop recommendations for ways to overcome those barriers;

(4)  to identify resource needs and funding options; and

(5)  to facilitate state and private entities in addressing these issues.

(d) In this process, the trust shall work with the Vermont climate collaborative and other interested persons and groups.

(e)  The trust shall present an initial report to the general assembly by no later than January 5, 2009.  The report may include any recommendations for whether the trust shall continue to exist subsequent to submitting its report, and proposed legislative language, if necessary.

* * * Weatherization Program * * *

Sec. 15.  33 V.S.A. § 2502(b) is amended to read:

(b)  In addition, the director shall supplement, or supplant, any federal program with a state home weatherization assistance program providing:

* * *

(3)  funding for the installation of solar domestic hot water systems on eligible homes.

* * * Methane Digesters * * *

Sec. 16.  REGIONAL DAIRY METHANE DIGESTERS

(a)  The secretary of agriculture, food and markets, in conjunction with the commissioner of public service, shall seek federal funding to evaluate the potential for manure management centers at potential sites for regional dairy bio-digesters.  In particular, the initiative shall examine the technical and economic feasibility of collecting dairy waste, transporting it, digesting it to produce energy, and returning digested manure to participating farms.

(b)  The secretary of natural resources shall review and make appropriate regulatory revisions or recommend appropriate statutory amendments to its regulatory programs that may be preventing the use of wastes, such as food processing wastes, whey, and brewers’ waste, in farm-based methane digester systems.