Thursday, May 27, 2010

Vermont Environmental News, May 27, 2010

Transportation Research Center : University of Vermont
When Lisa Aultman-Hall was hired three years ago as the founding director of the UVM Transportation Research Center, she stressed the importance of education and outreach, but made clear that interdisciplinary research focused on 21st century transportation-related social problems would be the foundation of the UVM Matrix Center.

True to her word, TRC has brought more than $3.5 million to the university in external grants; funded more than 70 graduate students through annual $28,000 awards; and brought together faculty in dozens of disciplines to produce some of the nation's most respected transportation-based research.
Incentives boost creative energy projects - Bennington Banner
Opinions vary on the long-term benefit of a state law enacted a year ago to encourage small renewable energy projects.

Organized by Renewable Energy Vermont, the 2010 Distributed Generation Northeast Conference on May 19 focused on lessons learned from the first phases of the "Feed-In Tariff," which became law in May 2009 without Gov. James Douglas’ signature.

The conference -- held at the Equinox resort -- also focused on the importance of a "smart grid" -- that is, a statewide and regional electricity distribution system better able to accept, manage, store and distribute electricity.
Wind Industry Wants a Long-term Commitment - Environmental Protection
On Grandpa's Knob in Vermont, wind power was stymied in 1941by a number of shortages. In 2010, those equipment and material shortages have been replaced by the lack of consistent support from government.

Specifically, presenters at the American Wind Energy Association's WindPower Conference and Exhibition in Dallas this week seemed anxious that their industry would not grow without tax or other financial incentives and a national renewable electricity standard (RES) to develop demand and push production.
Voter-Approved Wind Project Still Has Foes in Vt. - ABC News
A citizens coalition is promising a vigorous fight against a wind project that would erect 400-foot turbines along a northern Vermont ridgeline, even though a majority of residents have voted for it.

Lowell Mountain Group, which represents residents who oppose the Lowell wind farm, said Wednesday it plans to lobby Vermont utility regulators who are being asked to grant a certificate of public good for the Green Mountain Power Co. project.
City looks to tighten dwelling rules: Rutland Herald Online
An ad hoc committee formed to overhaul the city's housing policies is recommending at least one new addition to the city's zoning ordinances.

The group is not done with its full review of the policies, but through City Attorney Andrew Costello last week recommended that the aldermen tighten an existing housing policy governing the number of unrelated people who can live in a single dwelling, and transform the policy into a zoning ordinance.
Douglas signs transportation bill: Times Argus Online
Gov. James Douglas approved the largest transportation budget in the state's history Wednesday.

The transportation bill spends nearly $600 million. The transportation budget for fiscal year 2011, which begins in July, spends more than $113 million on bridge projects and more than $93 million for paving. In all, the bill spends $595 million, $40 million more than the current year and $165 million more than fiscal year 2009.
State closes 11 cliffs for falcon nesting: Times Argus Online
Eleven cliff areas in Vermont have been closed so peregrine falcons can nest in peace, the Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife announced this week.

The cliff areas include scenic overlooks that are common destinations for hikers, and the Fish & Wildlife Department recommends that hikers check the list of closed areas before they hit the trail.
Burlington residents question proposed Champlain Parkway | The Burlington Free Press | Burlington, Vermont
About 20 people gathered Wednesday night at City Hall in Burlington for the second of four public meetings about the proposed Champlain Parkway.

The project, nearly a half-century in the works, is poised now to move ahead. May 17, the City Council authorized the city to apply for an Act 250 permit for the road work.