|BILL AS INTRODUCED||2007-2008|
Introduced by Representative Errecart of Shelburne
Subject: Conservation; carbon offset fund
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to establish a Vermont carbon offset fund into which money may be deposited by those wishing to purchase carbon offsets. Fund managers will spend fund monies on carbon offset projects located in Vermont. The bill proposes that the fund be administered by the department of public service, and that funding decisions be made by the clean energy development fund investment committee.
AN ACT RELATING TO ESTABLISHING THE VERMONT CARBON OFFSET FUND
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 10 V.S.A. § 580 is added to read:
§ 580. VERMONT CARBON OFFSET FUND
(a) Creation of fund. There is established the Vermont carbon offset fund to consist of any monies that may be appropriated to or deposited into the fund. Balances in the fund shall be expended solely for the purposes set forth in this section, and shall not be used for the general obligations of government. All balances in the fund at the end of any fiscal year shall be carried forward and remain part of the fund. Interest earned by the fund shall be deposited in the fund. This fund is established in the state treasury pursuant to subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32.
(b) Purpose of fund. The purposes of the fund shall be to invest in quality carbon offset projects taking place within the state of Vermont.
(c) Management of fund.
(1) The fund shall be administered by the department of public service. Expenditure decisions shall be made by the clean energy development fund investment committee established under section 6523 of this title. This committee shall select eligible projects, which include those that sequester carbon and those that terminate or reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases, and shall make decisions with respect to specific grants and investments for eligible projects. The committee shall establish standard rules for particular categories of offset projects and may consider individual applications for other projects on a case-by-case basis. The committee shall provide for independent, third-party verification of the effects of projects.
(2) The department shall assure an open public process in the administration of the fund for the purposes established in this section.
(3) By January 15 of each year, commencing in 2010, the department of public service shall provide to the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy, the senate committee on finance, and the house committee on commerce a report detailing the revenues collected and the expenditures made under this subchapter, together with recommended principles to be followed in the allocation of funds and a proposed five-year plan for future expenditures from the fund.
(4) The commissioner of public service shall:
(A) by no later than October 30, 2009:
(i) develop a five‑year strategic plan and an annual program plan;
(ii) develop an annual operating budget;
(iii) develop proposed program designs to facilitate initiation, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of carbon offset projects (which may include use of financial assistance, investments, competitive solicitations, technical assistance, and other incentive programs and strategies); and
(iv) submit the plans, budget, and program designs to the clean energy development fund advisory committee for review and to the clean energy development fund investment committee for approval;
(B) explore pursuing joint investments in carbon offset projects with other state funds and private investors to increase the effectiveness of the carbon offset fund.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street