Roll Call! Senate Votes to Give Towns Some Say Over Renewable Energy Siting, But State Maintains Ultimate Control

Roll Call Graphic
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PASSED
in the State Senate on March 31, 2016 by a vote of
22-3

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Purpose: This bill was in response to a general, statewide public outcry over the siting of renewable energy projects by the unelected Public Service Board over the objections of local residents. Towns are demanding final say over where and whether these projects end up. (Read the Bill)
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Analysis: Those voting YES on this bill agreed to give towns “substantial deference” when it comes to siting renewable energy projects. Legally, this means towns will be treated with respect, but it also creates some serious hoops for towns to jump through.
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For example, under this bill in order to receive that substantial deference, a town would first have to present a plan to their regional planning commission, making sure it is in line with that body’s vision. The regional planning commission would then have to certify the town plan through the Department of Public Service. If this is not done, the local community has no say.
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And, after all that, the Public Service Board can still shoot down the town plan if it sees “clear and convincing” evidence that the public benefit of a project outweighs local wishes – which is, of course, totally subjective.

Those voting NO on the believed it did not go far enough in giving local communities a true veto over the siting of these projects.
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Senate Journal, Thursday, March 31, 2016. “Thereupon, the bill was read the third time and passed on a roll call, Yeas 22, Nays 3.” (Read the Journal, p. 751-761)
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How They Voted

(Click on Your Senator’s Name to Send an Email)

Timothy Ashe (D/P-Chittenden) – YES
Claire Ayer (D-Addison) – YES
Becca Balint (D-Windham) – YES
Philip Baruth (D-Chittenden) – YES
Joseph Benning (R-Caledonia) – YES
Christopher Bray (D-Addison) – YES
John Campbell (D-Windsor) – YES
Brian Campion (D-Bennington) – YES
Brian Collamore (R-Rutland) – YES
Ann Cummings (D-Washington) – YES
Dustin Degree (R-Franklin) – NO
William Doyle (R-Washington) – YES
Margaret Flory (R-Rutland) – YES
M. Jane Kitchel (D-Caledonia) – YES
Virginia Lyons (D-Chittenden) – YES
Mark MacDonald (D-Orange) – YES
Richard Mazza (D-Chittenden-Grand Isle) – YES
Norman McAllister (R-Franklin) – SUSPENDED
Richard McCormack (D-Windsor) – ABSENT
Kevin Mullin (R-Rutland) – ABSENT
Alice Nitka (D-Windsor District) – YES
Anthony Pollina (P/D/W-Washington) – YES
John Rodgers (D-Essex-Orleans) – NO
Richard Sears (D-Bennington) – ABSENT
Diane Snelling (R-Chittenden) – YES
Robert Starr (D-Essex-Orleans) – ABSENT
Michael Sirotkin (D-Chittenden) – YES
Richard Westman (R-Lamoille) – YES
Jeanette White (D-Windham) – YES
David Zuckerman (P-Chittenden) – NO

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