Shumlin expects wide variety of climate change proposals in session

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(Host) Senate president Peter Shumlin says he expects a wide variety of proposals dealing with climate change will be rolled into one omnibus bill during the current legislative session.

A number of House and Senate committees have devoted much of the first weeks of the new session to examining the issue of climate change.

Speaking last night on VPR’s Switchboard program, Shumlin said he expects lawmakers will consider some very specific ideas in the coming months.

(Shumlin) “We’ve got to continue to expand wind in Vermont. There’s no question about it – wind based power. Second, I think that we can make huge progress on insulating our homes – not just for low income folks which has been the emphasis of state government but finding ways to bring the middle class who’s struggling so much in this state into that picture. We can obviously make great in roads on small hydro. We obviously have to make great in roads in terms of encouraging folks to drive less fuel burning cars.”

(Host) Shumlin called for changes to the state’s long term energy policy to allow for the development of wind projects throughout Vermont.

He also says he won’t support the re-licensing of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant unless steps are taken to ship the radioactive wastes that are currently being stored on site to a location out of state:

(Shumlin) “We’ve got to get the waste off the banks of the Connecticut River. The federal government has not taken responsibility for it. The people of Windham County understand that it’s an unmitigated disaster potentially to have it there. And we shouldn’t make more waste until we figure out how to deal with that problem. We have an obligation to address that question before we even think about extending the license.”

(Host) Shumlin says he also believes the issue of global warming presents Vermont with economic development opportunities. He wants to encourage new high tech environmental companies to locate in the state and he wants to work with Vermont colleges to develop new educational programs that focus on climate change.

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