Permit reform proposal has bi-partisan support

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(Host) Legislation to change the permit process deadlocked last spring in a House-Senate conference committee. Now the Senate has a bi-partisan proposal that attempts to break the impasse. The plan would create one single appeals jurisdiction for Act 250 cases and other environmental permits.

Senator Phil Scott is a Republican senator from Washington County and member of the Senate Natural Resources Committee. He says the new panel would preserve citizen’s participation in environmental review.

(Scott) “We were trying to get the best of both worlds. We felt it important for citizens to stay involved. That’s why with this other board that was created. It’s a four person board. One would be the environmental judge, from the environmental court, one would be some sort of magistrate. And the other two could be citizens with environmental backgrounds. So it doesn’t mean it’s a professional board in the respects that they have to be attorneys.”

(Dillon) The House has not yet formally responded to the Senate proposal. Scott is hopeful that permit reform issue is resolved early in the legislative session.

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