One of the big stories in Vermont today is the announcement by the Intervale Center that they will close down their composting operation because they can’t afford the state’s costly and uncertain permitting process.
“The Intervale Center can no longer afford to pay toward an uncertain and increasingly expensive permitting process for Intervale Compost,” treasurer and board member Charles Lief wrote in a news release Wednesday night.
“Hiring civil engineers, wetland scientists, hydrologists and other technical experts, as well as legal counsel — along with site work required by the Agency of Natural Resources — cost the Intervale about $200,000 in 2007. Even more than that total would be needed to continue permitting work in 2008,” he said.
In response to the discovery that their beloved Act 250 can actually harm the businesses that they want operating in the state and confirmation that, indeed, the permitting process is too costly, one might think that perhaps the state’s Democratic-controlled legislature would finally agree with those who have been calling for permit reform.
No, instead, they intend to apply a patch to the law that will exempt composting operations.
Talk about missed opportunities.
The bottom line is that our permitting process is fundamentally flawed in a way that hurts business development in this state.
The problem is that no one on the left wants to admit that.
So, when the permitting process does hurt a business that they approve of, the obvious answer is to exempt that type of business.
We should demand more from our legislature.
This method of dealing with the problem doesn’t even help out those that are hurt by the law. The law change will not grandfather the Intervale Center.
And what happens when the next “good” business that gets dragged down by Act 250 doesn’t have the political ties that the Intervale does?
It’s time for a real change.
Vermont Tiger’s Geoff Norman has a piece on the compost loophole.