The LWVVT should take an active role supporting:
The LWVVT supports programs by the State of Vermont to promote renewable energy resources and energy efficiency.
Therefore, the LWVVT supports state legislation which moves Vermont to predominant reliance on renewable resources, as supported by the LWVUS position.
In evaluating proposed renewable energy proposals, whether public or private, the LWVVT should:
The LWVVT supports passage of a renewable portfolio standard for the State of Vermont.
The LWVVT supports the concept of green pricing as one tool to promote renewable energy development but does not see it as a substitute for a strong renewable portfolio standard. Everyone should pay for renewable energy. Thus, green pricing should be considered on a case-by-case basis. Public accountability for green pricing must be provided by the Public Service Board and utility auditors.
When evaluating specific renewable energy projects, the LWVVT should consider:
The LWVVT encourages the use of individually owned and operated manure based methane gas generators, wood-chip furnaces, solar heating and electricity generation, and wind generators by Vermont families, farms, and institutions provided they meet all environmental impact criteria.
The LWVVT encourages municipalities that tax equipment to exempt renewable energy systems from these taxes
Hydropower The LWV supports the State of Vermont entering into power purchase agreements for out of state hydropower that are advantageous to Vermont rate payers. For example, the League would support investment in the Connecticut River dams if such investment were shown to be economically advantageous to Vermont ratepayers.
Biomass The LWVVT strongly supports increased use of biomass as a source of energy. For example:
Solar The LWV supports the expansion of incentive programs to promote the installation of solar power plants at public facilities, such as schools, town halls, and other public buildings provided they are cost effective.
Wind The LWV supports opening state and federal lands to commercial and public wind power projects with the exception of wilderness areas. Wind power projects should receive full environmental review. Ridgelines should be evaluated for wind power projects using a consistent state standard.
Cogeneration and conservation The LWV supports public and private initiatives to promote cogeneration and district heating provided they are cost effective.
The LWV should work to increase public awareness of energy efficiency and available technical assistance.
The Leagues of Women Voters of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont believe there are a number of acceptable solutions for the three states to meet their responsibility under the Federal Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act of 1980 with regard to disposal of low-level waste generated within the region. The Leagues support:
The Leagues support disposition of nuclear wastes in an environmentally sound manner. The host state must be responsible for monitoring and ensuring isolation of the waste for the duration of its radioactive life. Because the region has complex geologic, climatic, hydro geologic, and seismic conditions, the Leagues support storage and disposal methods which provide for monitoring, separation and retrievability in engineered facilities using best available technology.
The Leagues want hazardous and radioactive waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities sited under conditions which pose the least amount of risk to the public and to sensitive environmental areas and natural resources. They must be located away from natural hazard areas, drinking water supplies, fragile land areas, valuable ecosystems, significant renewable resources, wildlife, historic and agricultural areas. Secondary land use impacts, such as buffer areas, adequate roads and transportation safety, must also be considered.
The Leagues endorse host state control during all stages of managing low-level radioactive waste. The host state should oversee: site selection, active operations, the decommissioning, closure, and institutional control of the site. This must include longterm monitoring and maintenance to ensure that wastes remain isolated until they are environmentally safe. The host state needs enforcement capability and the ability to sue violators for damages.
A complete evaluation of the economic, social, and environmental impacts must be carried out in such a way that decision makers and the public have adequate information on which to base a decision. The full costs of planning, selecting, building, administering, operating, monitoring, providing liability coverage and institutional control after closure must be adequately projected and borne by the generators of waste. Provision should be made for periodic review of the economics of the operation.
The League of Women Voters strongly believes that public understanding is crucial to the success of important decisions on low-level waste disposal. The League proposes clear provisions for public participation and strict application of the Right-to-Know Law. Citizen participation throughout the decision making process must be assured at every governmental level.
Statement Developed July 5, 1984 by: Carol Fritz (LWVME), Aileen Katz (LWVNH) and Sonja Schuyler (LWVVT)
The League supports the following specific measures:
a. Products with chlorinated organic compounds such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
b. Household cleaners containing synthetic organic solvents, since these are toxic.
a. Beverage containers not now included in Vermont's "bottle bill," i.e. wine, fruit juices, wine coolers, milk jugs, etc.
b. Tires, which present special problems for disposal.
c. Dry cell batteries, which now introduce into landfills heavy metals which could be recovered if the batteries were separated from the general waste stream.
a. Government purchase of goods made from recycled materials Financial incentives for manufacturers using recycled goods
b. Favorable publicity for commercial firms which use recycled materials.
Recognizing that some land use decisions are of statewide concern, we concur that the state has an overriding interest and responsibility to provide planning and direct regulation of the following critical areas:
1. Fragile or historic lands where development could result in irreversible damage.
2. Renewable resource lands where development could result in the loss of productivity.
3. Natural hazard lands where development could endanger life and property.
We believe that the following critical land use activities are also of more than local concern:
1. Areas impacted by public investment where siting results in secondary land use demands.
2. Large scale private development which may have substantial impact upon the physical, social and economic environment.
3. Land development of more than local benefit not provided by the private sector.
It is our recommendation that decisions for these activities be made at the local and regional levels according to state established standards and subject to state review. Impact statements should be required on all major public and private developments.
There was a strong mandate from League members for greater emphasis on regional planning and regulation in these areas of more than local concern. Such a regional level of government would also have advisory powers with a responsibility to review and comment on local plans and to provide services. Members of this regional body should be appointed, not elected, with representation from local government and citizens with a field of expertise.
We believe that the state should provide increased technical assistance and data information to help localities develop and exercise local land use management functions. Localities should be authorized and encouraged to exercise innovative land use planning and regulatory techniques. Provisions must also be made to establish an appeals board with powers to arbitrate conflicts between governmental bodies and between citizens and government in land use decisions.
Alternative modes of transportation that promote good health and environmental quality, such as bicycle and walkways, and provision for electric-powered vehicles. Recognizing the needs of this predominately rural state, the League supports efforts to move to shared and public transportation where feasible.
Geographic and intermodal connectivity, recognizing that transportation policy is a means of strengthening local communities. The League also supports the creative and increased use of existing resources.
The concept that all forms of transportation are the shared responsibility of local, state, and federal government.
The League of Women Voters of Vermont:
Recognizing that the gas tax will be most burdensome to low income Vermonters, the League supports fuel assistance measures to relieve this burden.