Governor, UVM President sign Vermont Climate Collaborative Charter

first_imgGovernor, UVM President sign Vermont Climate Collaborative CharterMONTPELIER – Governor Jim Douglas and UVM President Daniel Mark Fogel have formally adopted the Vermont Climate Collaborative framework, which will guide Vermont’s effort to address climate change and further develop the green tech economy.At a charter signing at the Statehouse Wednesday, Governor Douglas called the Collaborative a signature partnership that brings together the state’s higher education institutions, businesses, legislators and nonprofit organizations to allow the state to forge ahead with confidence in protecting and enhancing Vermont’s quality of life.”This charter spells out a foundation and framework for action,” the Governor said. “The Collaborative’s mission is simple: to see that Vermont stays green, leads the nation in environmental policies and creates job opportunities for a thriving green economy.”Douglas created his Commission on Climate Change in 2005, asking its members to enter into a wide-ranging discussion on initiatives that will safeguard Vermont’s way of life, where economic prosperity goes hand in hand with environmental stewardship.Hundreds of Vermonters offered their assistance and expertise to the Commission. In the end, the Commission’s final report focused on six main themes, including this collaborative partnership.Creation of the Vermont Climate Collaborative would be essential to meeting the five other goals, and to implementing policy recommendations contained in the Plenary Group Report, the Commission concluded.”Vermont, as the greenest state in the nation, is again leading the way by developing a far-reaching blueprint that creates and maintains a climate-friendly green infrastructure where man and nature co-exist and thrive together – and because of each other. And that’s what it’s really all about in Vermont,” Douglas said.Now that the Collaborative charter is signed, its members will begin to hold regular public meetings with the first order of business to be writing bylaws and defining the criteria to measure success.UVM President Fogel said Vermont has a robust foundation of environmental research and scientific capabilities that will be meaningful to the Collaborative’s work.”Addressing climate change will not be easy,” said Fogel. “But the Collaborative will become the ‘clearinghouse’ that will help set priorities for action and measure results.”The Collaborative will serve as a coordinating hub to provide connections to appropriate resources and individuals to foster climate change research and activities, Fogel said.”Numerous research efforts are already underway in Vermont to help us understand the impacts of policies designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Fogel said. “The Vermont Climate Collaborative gives us the opportunity to harness our collective ongoing effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also strengthening the green economy in Vermont. The Collaborative framework will enhance the speed at which Vermont is able to move forward with green initiatives.”Fogel pointed to climate change research already taking place at Vermont’s higher education institutions, including the work of Lisa Aultman-Hall and Richard Watts at UVM’s Transportation Research Center, the Carbon Reduction Initiative at Middlebury College, and the work of UVM’s Jennifer Jenkins and William Keeton on biomass, forest dynamics, and carbon storage.The Collaborative members include: UVM Provost John Hughes and ANR Secretary George Crombie will oversee the Collaborative; Dean Domenico Grasso of the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences; Dean Lawrence Forcier at the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources; Dean Thomas Vogelmann at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Frances Carr, Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies; Chancellor Robert Clarke at the Vermont State Colleges; Paul Fonteyn, President of Green Mountain College; William Wooten, President of Sterling College; Commerce Secretary Kevin Dorn; Transportation Secretary David Dill; Agriculture Secretary Roger Allbee; Public Service Commissioner David O’Brien; Senate President Peter Shumlin; Rep. Margaret Cheney of Norwich; Gregg Marston of the Vermont Business Roundtable; Mark Snelling from the Governor’s Council of Environmental Advisors and Scott Johnstone, Executive Director of Vermont Energy Investment Corp.last_img read more

Bolton Valley wind turbine to begin construction Monday

first_imgThe Bolton Valley wind turbine will be erected next week, beginning Monday, when the structure is taken up the mountain in sections. This is the first wind turbine to be erected at a Vermont ski area and only the second at a ski area anywhere in the entire country. Equipment will be staged at Bolton Valley over the weekend, with the first sections of the turbine headed up the mountain Monday morning about 7am.The tower parts will arrive at Bolton Valley on two trucks and taken up the mountain, in stages, on an all terrain trailer pulled by a D8 bull dozer for the final approach to the peak. Once at the peak a massive crane will remove the first section of the tower from the trailer for placement on its foundation.Tuesday the second and third sections of the tower will be installed. The blades will be pitched on a pitching stand on the ground prior to being put in place Wednesday.For additional information or to make arrangements for getting to the peak to photograph or video the installation, contact Josh Arneson at Bolton Valley.Bolton Valley Wind Tower Construction ScheduleMonday, October 5The wind tower parts will arrive at Bolton Valley packed on two trucks. They will be transported up the access road and will need to be moved to an all terrain trailer pulled by a D8 bull dozer to make the final approach up the mountain to the peak. The process of switching trucks and beginning the final leg up the mountain will begin at 7:00am.Once at the peak the crane will remove the nested tower from the trailer and begin to un-nest all the wind turbine tower sections and stage them for assemblyLadder assembly will begin at the peakPlace the first section of the towerGrout the connection where the tower meets the foundationTuesday, October 6Place the second section of the towerPlace the third section of the towerPitch the blades which will be set up on a pitching stand on the groundWednesday, October 7Place the nacelle on top of the third tower sectionFinal piece will be lifting the blade assembly (rotor) into place. This will take place in the afternoon.last_img read more

Vermont counties receive another $1.2 million in energy efficiency grants

first_imgSeven more Vermont counties have been awarded economic stimulus funding for energy efficiency and conservation projects through a block grant program created in legislation authored by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). County-specific block grants were awarded to Windham County for $130,800, Orange County for $115,800, Windsor County for $193,300, Washington County for $254,600, Chittenden County for $195,400, Rutland County for  $189,700, and Addison County for $153,700.  Block grants were awarded in September to Caledonia, Franklin, and Orleans Counties. The State of Vermont and its cities and towns also were awarded $10.3 million in March under the same program.Sanders, chairman of the Senate environment committee’s Green Jobs and New Economy Subcommittee, authored legislation that established the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program. The grants may be used to update building codes to require construction of energy-efficient homes and businesses, retrofit old buildings with newer technology, utilize alternative energy, and create incentives for residents to car pool or ride buses. “The block grant program recognizes the importance of local efforts to create good-paying jobs in developing sustainable energy and promoting energy efficiency,” Sanders said. “What I particularly like about this approach is that it relies on local initiatives and grassroots participation.” Sanders, along with Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.), wrote a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu asking him to reverse a regulatory decision that initially excluded counties in New England states.  In response, the department established a process for counties and “county equivalent” bodies, such as regional planning commissions in Vermont, to seek these funds. Vermont counties, through regional planning commissions, appealed to the Department of Energy for block grant funding.  The funding formula excludes the populations of cities and large towns which were eligible for their own grants. Source: Senator Sanders’ office. WASHINGTON, October 8, 2009 –last_img read more

Vermont to offer ‘Citizens’ Bonds’ for sale on February 25

first_imgApproximately $20 million in State of Vermont Citizens Bonds will be offered for sale on February 25. The opportunity to purchase the general obligation bonds will be made available first to Vermont residents and businesses. The last Vermont Citizens Bonds offering in March 2009 sold out in less than three hours.Bonds may be purchased in $1,000 increments and must be bought through a registered broker/dealer. The bonds maturities will range from one to 10 years. The State Treasurer s Office does not sell the bonds directly and does not endorse any particular broker/dealer. Any bonds remaining after Vermonters have had the opportunity to invest will then be made available to retail and institutional investors from outside of the state. Based on the strong response to our March 2009 bond offering, I would urge anyone interested in purchasing these bonds to contact a registered broker/dealer right away, said State Treasurer Jeb Spaulding. Interest earnings from the bonds are exempt from state and federal taxes. As a new bond issue, these bonds are sold without commission or trading mark-up.The sale of bonds to investors is the process by which states borrow money to make critical investments in public infrastructure. The money raised by a bond sale funds the construction and maintenance of a wide range of State buildings and transportation projects. Moody s Investor Service has rated Vermont bonds as triple-A, the highest rating available to government issuers. Vermont bonds are also rated AA+ by Standard & Poor s Ratings Service and by Fitch Ratings. The higher the bond rating, the more creditworthy the rating agency evaluates a bond issuer to be.In addition to the Vermont Citizens Bonds, on February 25 the State Treasurer s Office also plans to make available up to $50 million in negotiated general obligation refunding bonds. The amount of refunding bonds, if any, will depend upon the level of interest rates at the time of the sale. Lower interest rates will mean that more bonds can be refinanced for savings. The process of issuing refunding bonds is similar in concept to a homeowner refinancing a home to take advantage of lower interest rates, explained Spaulding. Sales of these bonds enable the State to retire debt with higher interest rates and replace it with debt obligations that have lower interest charges.Investors interested in the Vermont Citizen s Bonds should contact their registered broker/dealer. If an investor does not have a broker/dealer, he or she may consult the Vermont Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration s web site to search a data base of registered broker/dealers with offices in the state. For a link to the BISHCA database go to is external) . The preliminary Official Statement for this offering also will be available at this link on the State Treasurer s web site around February 18. The offering is named: State of Vermont General Obligation Bonds, 2010 Series B (Citizens Bonds) and 2010 Series C (Refunding Bonds).Under no circumstances should this announcement of bond issuance be considered an offer to sell or a solicitation to offer to buy, nor shall there be any sales of the bonds in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation, or sales would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. The bonds will be offered for sale by means of an Official Statement.Source: Office of the State Treasurer. 2.4.2010.last_img read more

Burlington awarded $3.15 million for Waterfront North project, benefits Moran redevelopment

first_imgCommunity and Economic Development Office Director Larry Kupferman noted, This project will help revitalize the north end of the waterfront, and is an extension of almost 30 years effort begun by then Mayor Bernie Sanders to convert the waterfront from railyards and oil tank farms into the economic, cultural and recreation asset it is today.   Kupferman added, CEDO and DPW have planning this work for years, independent of the Moran project, but the reality is we can t redevelop Moran without first rebuilding Lake Street, improving the bike path, and creating new public parking. This is a significant step forward in terms of financing Moran. Burlington s TIGER grant application was supported by Senator Leahy, Senator Sanders and Representative Welch, in a joint letter sent to DOT Secretary Ray LaHood. More information on the TIGER Discretionary Grant Program can be found here: is external) The TIGER funds were among the most sought after competitive Recovery Act monies.  DOT received nearly 1,400 applications from all 50 states, vying for a share of the funds for innovative transportation projects that would have significant economic and environmental impact.  Oversubscribed by a ratio of 38:1, there was $57 billion in requests for the $1.5 billion available.  Only 3% of projects were funded. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced today that Burlington has received a major, and highly sought after Recovery Act ( Stimulus Bill ) grant.  The $3.15 million award will be used for the Waterfront North project, which involves rebuilding the end of Lake Street, realigning and upgrading portions of the bike path, and constructing the parking necessary for the redevelopment of the Moran plant.  The so-called TIGER grant was announced by DOT Secretary Ray LaHood.  More information on the Waterfront North project can be found, here: is external)…center_img Mayor Bob Kiss also emphasized the importance of the award to the Moran Project and continued waterfront development. This is a major boost for the Moran project, as well as for the City s efforts to continue redeveloping the waterfront. This project improves public access to the waterfront, enhances public amenities for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike, and promotes needed economic development and vitality on the North end of the waterfront. This award follows on the heels of Moran being chosen as just one of seven projects in the entire country to be chosen for a Brownfields Economic Development Initiative grant, and one of just sixteen selected for an EPA Brownfields Sustainability award. I m very pleased that the DOT has chosen Waterfront North for funding through this extraordinarily competitive grant program.  It s an investment in Burlington which will have a ripple effect economically and in the community for years to come. With the TIGER grant announcement, funding for the Waterfront North project is complete, since the TIGER program does not require any local match.  The planning stages of the project are complete, and were paid for through funds previously secured by Senator Patrick Leahy to improve public access to the downtown waterfront.  A major thrust of those efforts, including the reconstruction of lower College Street, reconfiguration of the Pease parking lot, and construction of a new information building with public bathrooms, is nearing completion. The $1.5 billion TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Discretionary Grant program was created by Congress as part of the 2009 Recovery Act, to finance strategic investments in infrastructure that will result in immediate and long term job creation. The official award announcement is here: is external)Source: City of Burlington. 2.17.2010last_img read more

Vermont and New York mark one-year since Champlain Bridge closure

first_imgVermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) Secretary David Dill and New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Acting Commissioner Stanley Gee this week marked the one year anniversary of the Lake Champlain Bridge closure on October 16 of last year, noting the significant progress made to provide travelers, especially those located in the vicinity of the bridge and dependent on transportation across the lake in their daily lives, with a link across Lake Champlain between Crown Point, NY, and Addison, VT. Today, the temporary ferry service is still in place providing round-the-clock transportation across the lake at no cost to passengers, and the underwater structures for the new bridge are nearly completed. Immediately following the bridge’s closure, New York and Vermont reached out to the surrounding communities through a series of public meetings to gather feedback and solicit input from residents and business owners on both sides of the lake. The states quickly began implementing the communities’ clear vision for restoring the corridor with a temporary ferry in the vicinity of the bridge and a brand new Lake Champlain Bridge at the same location. Community participation was crucial to choosing the site for the temporary ferry and for picking the design of the replacement bridge.VTrans Secretary Dill said “Opening the temporary ferry as quickly as possible was key to restoring the lives of both New Yorkers and Vermonters back to as close to normal as possible given the circumstances, and I am heartened at to hear from both residents and business owners that family life and economic vitality on both sides of the lake has rebounded significantly since the first ferry set sail. But as welcome as the ferry has been, we also realize that nothing short of opening the new bridge will completely restore our communities. To that end, everyone can rest assured that bridge construction will continue nonstop through the winter so that we can reestablish this vital economic, social and public-safety link as quickly as possible.”NYSDOT Acting Commissioner Gee said, “The New York State Department of Transportation, working with the Vermont Agency of Transportation, took the necessary steps to assure the safety of the traveling public when we closed the Lake Champlain Bridge. This bridge was an important piece of transportation infrastructure that connected people with employment, education and medical care. Responding to the need for this transportation link, NYSDOT and Vermont moved immediately to restore the connection with temporary ferry service while the permanent replacement bridge was being designed. I thank all of our partners for their hard work and dedication on this project, and I especially thank the communities on both sides of Lake Champlain for their input and patience as we build a new, state-of-the-art bridge to replace the former historic structure in this location.”Cracking in the bridge’s support piers prompted the closure and, if left untreated, could have led to structural failure and possible collapse, putting motorists and pedestrians in serious danger. By immediately closing the bridge, New York and Vermont were able to ensure the safety of the traveling public.The original Lake Champlain Bridge was demolished on December 28, 2009. While planning the complex demolition, the states also worked on building infrastructure to accommodate a temporary ferry. The ferry, carrying motorists across Lake Champlain every 15 minutes, opened in January of 2010. In the meantime, the two states worked on designing a replacement bridge to be located in the footprint of the old bridge. Several public meetings were held in New York and Vermont and the public was invited to vote in person and on-line on their preferred bridge design. The publicly preferred design – a Modified Network Tied Arch Bridge built of steel with an arch along the center span – was ultimately chosen to replace the Lake Champlain Bridge.Construction on the new bridge began in June, a short eight months after closing the bridge to traffic. Work has progressed on-schedule, with construction of bridge abutments and piers under way. Fabrication of the steel bridge members is progressing off-site. The project is on track to be completed next September, as scheduled. Source: VTrans. 10.16.2010. Photo by Ed Barna, Vermont Business Magazine.###last_img read more

Vermont Law School helps update Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan

first_imgVermont Law School,Vermont Law School’s Institute for Energy and the Environment (IEE) is playing a significant role in updating Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan. A draft of the plan is open for public comment until October 10. The IEE was commissioned by the Vermont Department of Public Service (DPS) to craft a background to the plan, which addresses Vermont’s energy future for electricity, thermal energy, transportation and land use. The plan, which was last updated in 1998, is being developed by the DPS in collaboration with other state agencies, the public and stakeholders such as VLS. ‘Our goal was to support the plan and create a map of the regulatory and legal landscape of Vermont’s energy policy,’ said Professor Michael Dworkin, director of the IEE. ‘The plan is to be used by decision makers and a lay audience who are looking for the forest, not the trees.’ The plan’s background crafted by the IEE evaluates the legal and decision-making aspects of Vermont’s energy policy; identifies inconsistencies, tensions and other problems with the Legislature’s energy goals and current laws; and identifies ways to resolve those problems.  The plan’s primary purposes are to inform Vermonters about the challenges of maintaining a safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy supply; to examine efforts to address these energy challenges; and to make recommendations to achieve Vermont’s energy goals.The draft plan is available at: is external)last_img read more