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

* * * State Agencies * * *

Sec. 1.  3 V.S.A. § 838(c) is amended to read:

(c)  The economic impact statement shall analyze the anticipated costs and benefits to be expected from adoption of the rule.  Specifically, each economic impact statement shall, for each requirement in the rule:

(1)  list categories of people, enterprises and government entities potentially affected and estimate for each the costs and benefits anticipated;

(2)  compare the economic impact of the rule with the economic impact of other alternatives to the rule, including no rule on the subject or a rule having separate requirements for small business;

(3)  include a flexibility statement.  The flexibility statement shall compare the burden imposed on small businesses by compliance with the rule to the burden which would be imposed by alternatives considered under section 832a of this title.

(4)  include a greenhouse gas impact statement.  The greenhouse gas impact statement shall explain how the rule has been crafted to reduce the extent to which greenhouse gases are emitted.  The secretary of administration, in conjunction with the secretaries of agriculture, food and markets, of natural resources, and of transportation, and the commissioner of public service shall provide a checklist which shall be used in the adoption of rules to assure the full consideration of greenhouse gas impacts, direct and indirect.

* * *

Sec. 1a.  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 systems, which shall include equipment or building design features, or both, designed to attain the optimal mix of minimizing solar gain in the summer and maximizing solar gain during the winter, 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) and (d) are added to read:

(c)  The secretary shall provide data and funding recommendations to the Vermont climate change oversight committee with regard to:

(1)  Funding and implementing state conservation programs 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 climate change oversight committee  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 poultry and nondairy livestock manure composted to 25 percent by 2012, and 50 percent by 2028. 

* * * Air Quality * * *

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


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:


(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 Vermont climate collaborative.  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 participate in the Vermont climate collaborative, a collaboration between state government and Vermont’s higher education, business, agricultural, labor, and environmental communities in developing a climate change action plan.  Wherever possible, members of the collaborative shall be included among the membership of the program development working groups established by the climate change oversight committee created under this act.  State entities shall cooperate with the climate change oversight committee in pursuing the priorities identified by the committee.  The secretary shall notify each member of the general assembly of the development of this plan and of the general public that the collaborative is developing greenhouse gas reduction programs and shall provide meaningful opportunity for public comment on program developmentThis plan Programs 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 state programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  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.

(d)  Advocacy for cap and trade program for greenhouse gases, including those caused by transportation, heating, cooling, and ventilation.  In order to increase the likelihood of the state meeting the goals established under this section, the public service board, the secretary of natural resources, and the 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, including those caused by transportation, heating, cooling, and ventilation.  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 that includes a 100 percent consumer allocation system.

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


(a)  Inventory and forecasting.  The secretary shall work, in conjunction with other states or a regional consortium, to establish a periodic and consistent inventory of greenhouse gas emissions.  The secretary shall publish a Vermont greenhouse gas emission inventory and forecast by no later than June 1, 2010, and updates shall be published annually until 2028, until a regional or national inventory and registry program is established in which Vermont participates, or until the federal National Emissions Inventory includes mandatory greenhouse gas reporting. 

(b)  Inventory updates.  To develop the inventory under this section, the secretary, in coordination with the secretaries of administration, of  transportation, of agriculture, food and markets, and of commerce and community development, and the commissioner of the department of public service, shall aggregate all existing statewide data on greenhouse gas emissions currently reported to state or federal entities, existing statewide data on greenhouse gas sinks, and otherwise publicly available data.  Greenhouse gas emissions data that is more than 36 months old shall be updated either by statistical methods or seeking updated information from the reporting agency or department.  The information shall be standardized to reflect the emissions in tons per CO2 equivalent, shall be set out in the inventory by sources or sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, automobile emissions, heating, and electricity production, shall be compatible with the inventory included with the governor’s commission on climate change final report and shall include, but not be limited to, the following sources:

(1)  information collected for reporting in the National Emissions Inventory, which includes air toxics, criteria pollutants, mobile sources, point sources, and area sources;

(2)  in-state electricity production using RGGI and state permit information;

(3)  vehicle miles travelled and vehicle registration data; and

(4)  agricultural activities, including livestock and crop practices.

(c)  Forecast.  The secretary shall use best efforts to forecast statewide emissions for a five- and ten-year period based on the inventory data and other publicly available information.

(d)  Registry.  The secretary shall work, in conjunction with other states or a regional consortium, to establish a regional or national greenhouse gas registry.

(1)  Any registry in which Vermont participates 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.

(e)  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.

(f)  Participation by government subdivisions.  The state and its municipalities may participate in the inventory 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.

* * * 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) is 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.  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.

* * * Transportation * * *

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


(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, coordinating, and integrating 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, integrated, cost effective cost-effective, and environmentally sound ways.  The agency shall coordinate planning and education efforts with those of the Vermont climate change oversight committee and those of local and regional planning entities:

(1)  to assure that the transportation system as a whole is integrated, that access to the transportation system as a whole is integrated, and that statewide, local, and regional conservation and efficiency opportunities and practices are integrated; and

(2)  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 integrated, 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, including bicycle and pedestrian trails regardless of whether they are located along a highway shoulder; and

(B)  adhere to credible project delivery schedules.

* * *

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


(a)  The general assembly recognizes that rail service, both passenger and freight, is an integral part of the state’s transportation network and that it must be fully integrated into the state’s transportation network as a whole.  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 the state’s other transportation resources and Vermont’s economic development efforts and to 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, and for increased coordination of rail service with bus service, car‑pooling, and ride-sharing opportunities.

* * *

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


(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, to assure the rapid replacement of any unplanned decrease in service, and to support 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 an integrated, statewide online service that coordinates transportation options and provides web-based access to information that will allow the traveling public integrated, convenient, affordable, and dependable access to alternative transportation modes sufficient to allow efficient, cost-effective, and timely travel throughout the state.

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


(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 area is adequately served by bicycle and pedestrian paths that are not located along the shoulders of these highways, or unless the agency deems it to be cost-prohibitive.

* * * Zoning Regulations * * *

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


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 development 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 regulatory incentives, including increased densities and expedited review.

* * * 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 nonqualifying 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:

(A)  the greenhouse gas inventory developed under the provisions of 10 V.S.A. § 580;

(B)  the state’s progress in meeting its greenhouse gas reduction goals; and

(C)  the value of the financial risks associated with greenhouse gas emissions from various power sources.

* * *


The commissioner of public service shall hold workshops concerning distributed generation and what barriers exist to the development throughout the state of distributed generation.  The commissioner shall present recommendations on these matters by no later than January 15, 2009, to the legislative committees on natural resources and energy, on commerce, and on finance.

Sec. 13b.   30 V.S.A. § 255(f) is added to read:

(f)  The state’s negotiators to RGGI shall advocate for and negotiate to adjust the rules of the program, as needed, so that greenhouse gas reductions resulting from state investments and other public investments and investments required by state law will not be prohibited from being eligible for off-sets under the program.


(a)  The Vermont climate change oversight committee 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 committee, which may include persons with knowledge of business, “green” business and technology, economics, public health, public utilities, agriculture, ecological science, carbon trading, municipal planning, transportation and land use planning and development, forestry and ecology, waste management, and education. 

(b)  The powers of the committee are vested in its members, and a quorum shall consist of five members.  No action of the committee shall be considered valid unless the action is supported by a majority vote of its members.  The committee 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 committee 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 committee 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 and to delegate and oversee program development by appropriate working groups that shall make recommendations with regard to how climate change issues should best be addressed in statute and as part of the climate change action plan.  Membership of the working groups shall include members of the Vermont climate collaborative, wherever possible.  The working groups shall develop recommendations that shall be designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in ways that are permanent, quantifiable, and verifiable, and shall bring those recommendations back to the climate change oversight committee.  The committee shall assure that these recommendations:

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

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

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

(4)  identify resource needs and funding options; and

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

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

(e)  The committee shall present a preliminary report to the committees of the general assembly having jurisdiction over matters relating to the environment, agriculture, energy, transportation, commerce, and public health by January 30, 2009, and shall deliver a final report by January 30, 2010.

* * * 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 and other renewable energy systems on eligible homes, where cost-effective and consistent with other program needs.

* * * Methane Digesters * * *


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.


By no later than January 30, 2009, the secretary of natural resources shall provide to the house and senate committees on transportation a status report with regard to the implementation of the vehicle emissions labeling program for new motor vehicles, established under 10 V.S.A. § 579.


By December 15, 2008, the agency of transportation, in collaboration with the University of Vermont transportation research center and the agency of natural resources, shall report to the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy and on transportation, to the house committee on ways and means, and to the senate committee on finance with:

(1)  An analysis of the role of motor vehicles in creating and contributing to air contaminants in Vermont, and a determination of what portion of overall statewide energy consumption is due to the use of motor vehicles.

(2)  Recommendations regarding policy options that would encourage and reward efficient transportation, reduce the amount of greenhouse gases generated by the transportation sector, and support alternative modes of transportation.

(3)  Recommendations for public education regarding clean and efficient transportation.

(4)  Other recommendations regarding the efficient use of transportation services.

Approved:  June 11, 2008

Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont