After a major fall-off in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal-fired electric power plants of 13.1 percent between 2005 and 2012, the first quarter of 2013 has seen a substantial jump in carbon dioxide emissions from coal – a 7.1 percent increase in the first three months of 2013 compared to the same period last year, according to a new Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) analysis of recent data from the US Environmental Protection Agency and US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Vermont Attorney General William H Sorrell and the Vermont Department of Public Service, joined by the Attorneys General of Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts, filed a Petition with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) yesterday calling for a more expansive environmental review of the impacts of storing spent nuclear fuel onsite at nuclear power plants.
Vermont Tech is pleased to announce that Linda Rossi has accepted the position of State Director of the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC), effective June 1 of this year. Rossi currently serves as the Associate State Director of the VtSBDC and has worked with the organization since 2005. She is succeeding Lenae Quillen-Blume after many years of service to Vermont Tech and the center.
by Alicia Freese May 21, 2013 vtdigger.org Vermont lawmakers introduced 713 bills this session, ranging from decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana to naming a state native insect. Fewer than 14 percent of them passed in both the House and Senate. That might sound like a lot of legislation for 180 people working for four months to produce, but their bill-making is on pace to be pretty average this biennium.
Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell today announced the resolution of a multistate antitrust investigation against major US book publisher Penguin Group (USA) Inc for price-fixing and collusion in the electronic book (E-book) market. Vermont has reached an agreement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc to settle the state’s allegations that Penguin colluded with other major publishers and Apple Inc to manipulate prices in the E-book market.
GW Plastics has been named the Deane C Davis Outstanding Vermont Business of the Year, Vermont's most prestigious business award. Governor Peter Shumlin announced the winner Wednesday morning. Presented by Vermont Business Magazine and the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, the award was given at the kick off of the 29th annual Vermont Chamber Business & Industry EXPO at the Sheraton Burlington Conference Center. Finalists for the award included Green Mountain Power and Instrumart.
Governor Peter Shumlin this morning signed into law a bill that seeks to protect Vermont companies from abusive and bad faith assertions of patent infringement, further encouraging the growth of knowledge-based businesses in Vermont. The governor signed the patent trolling prevention bill in front of an enthusiastic group of business leaders during the opening ceremonies of the Vermont Chamber Business & Industry EXPO. The Vermont attorney general immediately filed suit against one such alleged company.
Susan L Donegan, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, announced Wednesday that the Vermont Health CO-OP has failed to meet Vermont’s insurance standards and has been denied a license to sell health insurance in Vermont. The Vermont Health CO-OP (consumer operated and oriented plan) is a non-profit organization funded by loans from the federal government, which submitted an application to be licensed as a mutual member-owned health insurance company.
Vermont Health Connect on Tuesday announced $2 million in grants to organizations that will provide in-person health coverage enrollment assistance. Navigator Organizations will manage individual Navigators who will be trained and certified to provide direct assistance to individuals, families and small businesses across Vermont. Navigators will also play a key role in Vermont Health Connect’s outreach and education in communities.
Green Mountain Power, GW Plastics and Instrumart are vying for Vermont's most prestigious business award. One of these finalists will be named the Deane C Davis Outstanding Vermont Business of the Year on Wednesday, May 22.
Vermont Attorney General William H Sorrell announced today that Vermont homeowners have received $14.7 million in foreclosure relief benefits during the first year of the 2012 state-federal settlement with the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and Residential Capital (GMAC/Ally). The settlement addressed foreclosure abuses and unacceptable nationwide mortgage servicing practices.
Vermont had the fifth highest per pupil public school spending in the country in 2011, but, typical of high-spending states, the third lowest funding coming from the federal government, according to the US Census. School spending went up 4.3 percent in Vermont from 2010. Meanwhile, fiscal year 2011 marked the first decrease in per student public education spending nationally since the US Census Bureau began collecting data on an annual basis in 1977, according to new statistics released today.
by Andrew Stein, vtdigger.org - The Portland Pipe Line Corporation says an Act 250 land-use coordinator didn’t give the company a fair shake when issuing a jurisdictional opinion saying the board has oversight of a prospective project. The company’s attorney also says the decision was based on “misleading” and “incorrect” information.
by Andrew Stein, vtdigger.org - Almost two weeks before Entergy Corporation and the state of Vermont are set to meet in federal court, a Public Service Board officer recommended giving the owner of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant what it wants: a permit for a backup generator.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) on Tuesday announced that Vermont will receive $6.3 million in federal grants from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), up from $5.7 million last year. The grants – under a formula championed by Leahy that protects smaller states like Vermont - will help Vermont develop prevention and preparedness programs to respond to and recover from acts of terrorism and other catastrophic events.
by Nat Rudarakanchana May 20, 2013 www.vtdigger.org Lawmakers helped state businesses this session by mitigating some impacts of Tropical Storm Irene and by tweaking laws regarding the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund, which pays benefits to the unemployed.
The Lake Champlain Basin Program has released the report Flood Resilience in the Lake Champlain Basin and Upper Richelieu River. The report presents results of an LCBP flood conference held in 2012 at the request of Vermont Governor Shumlin and Québec’s (former) Premier Charest, following the spring 2011 flooding of Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River Valley.
by Alicia Freese May 20, 2013 vtdigger.org A decade of lengthy and divisive debate ended Monday when Vermont became the first state in the US to enact legislation allowing terminally ill patients to obtain medication to help them end their lives.
In a room jam-packed with lawmakers and supporters of the so-called physician-assisted death bill, Gov. Peter Shumlin signed into law S77, which takes effect immediately.
Vermont State Parks announces the annual opening of its summer operating season this weekend. The Memorial Day holiday, the unofficial beginning of summer, also marks the beginning of the prime season for all 52 state parks. Officials are optimistic that this year’s park visitation will at least match last year's 20 year record.
Janet Gorman McCarthy, the ninth president of Lyndon State College, passed away on May 15 at her home in South Dennis, Mass., with her family by her side. She was 76 years old. McCarthy - - who the Lyndon community will recognize as Murphy - - was president from 1977 to 1983.
American Debt Counseling, Inc, a Florida company that provides debt reduction programs and credit counseling to consumers, will refund almost $4,000 in fees to Vermont consumers and pay the State of Vermont $10,000 to settle claims that the company violated Vermont consumer protection laws.
Representatives of the Merchants Bank, The Fund for North Bennington and the Preservation Trust of Vermont announced today that the Bank has donated its 1864 building in the center of North Bennington Village to the two nonprofit organizations.
by the Public Assets Institute, Montpelier May 17, 2013 Vermont’s employment picture was essentially unchanged from March to April. The unemployment rate, labor force, and non-farm jobs all ticked down, but only slightly. Comparing this April to the same month in previous years, the recent trend shows a steady decline in the number of Vermonters who report having jobs, even while the unemployment rate was dropping.
by Andrew Stein May 19, 2013 vtdigger.org When Cigna disclosed its claims denials and executive compensation to the state, the publicly traded health insurance company revealed the highest rejection rate in Vermont. Its 2012 filing also contained some key inconsistencies.
Green Mountain Power and NRG Residential Solar Solutions, part of NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG) based in New Jersey, have signed a groundbreaking agreement to pilot a central solar lease program in Rutland, Vermont. The agreement includes the development of two 150-kilowatt solar projects by NRG in the city, adding to GMP’s Solar Capital initiative, and a new NRG office downtown.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBSVT) was joined by Governor Peter Shumlin Monday to announce the opening of the BCBSVT Information and Wellness Center in the Blue Mall in South Burlington. The BCBSVT Information and Wellness Center is an important part of the company’s comprehensive outreach effort to support and assist Vermonters in their transition into Vermont’s new health benefits exchange – Vermont Health Connect, later this year.
Vermont Speaker of the House Shap Smith made the following statement at the end of the 2013 legislative session.
“This week, the legislature completed a successful first half of the biennium. We have recognized that in times of great uncertainty it is our responsibility to make investments in the state that will make it stronger. These have included investments in our communities, in our infrastructure, and in our people.
by Nat Rudarakanchana May 19, 2013 vtdigger.org An attempt to regulate police Taser use and training more closely stalled, despite calls from advocates and relatives of victims of Taser use. The House Government Operations Committee decided it needed more time to address the concerns of police, who feared regulators would micromanage the use of an effective weapon.