Letter: Sensible change on Act 250 is overdue

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To the editor:With respect to the recent column submitted to the Journal by our friend Brian Shupe of the Natural Resource Defense Counsel, I must take strong issue with his claim that, in proposing process and efficiency improvements to our landmark environmental legislation, Act 250, I have somehow gotten things "wrong." Change is needed. I thought that, in proposing through the legislation I introduced a regulatory framework that will offer greater predictability and a more timely and efficient review process, I was pursuing a pretty benign objective.I have heard the most fervent defenders of the law dismiss as merely "anecdotal" accounts by persons who can attest to instances where the system has failed, to the detriment of businesses who stand to offer Vermonters greater and more dynamic career options and communities that seek healthy, sustainable growth opportunities.But anecdotes are direct, first hand accounts by persons who have actual first hand experience. They are much more powerful than dry and easily manipulated statistics. So I was chagrined last year to hear Diane Snelling of the Natural Resource Board unequivocally warn the legislative Act 250 Commission against letting persons attending the Commission's road shows last year to share their own personal experiences. The Commission listened. One can reasonably question what the Commission, charged with coming up with sound solutions, feared.While it was also suggested that I am against regulation directed at the impact of global warming, I refer him and others to read the carbon bill I introduced this session and the articles I have written urging immediate legislative action in this area.My thought, however, is that rather than superimpose a new regulatory hurdle to Act 250 approval our environmental advocacy groups might actually draft and propose carbon-related building codes through public processes and also take a shot at reasonable and "passable" legislation designed to reduce our carbon emissions.Linda SullivanDorsetThe writer is a state legislator in the Vermont House of Representatives.

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