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Committee changes could favor wind moratorium  

Credit:  by Paul Lefebvre | the Chronicle | January 16, 2013 | bartonchronicle.com ~~

MONTPELIER – The bill calling for a three-year moratorium on wind development may have gained a foothold in the Senate with key member changes in the committee that will take up the bill.

On Tuesday the bill went to the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy whose newly appointed chairman is one of the Legislature’s leading sponsors of the moratorium.

The new chairman of the committee is Senator Robert Hartwell, a Bennington Democrat.

He and Republican Senator Joe Benning of Lyndon are the primary, or driving, sponsors of the bill.

As introduced, the bill has nine co-sponsors. The remaining seven include: Senator Peg Flory of Pittsford; Senator Peter Galbraith of Windham; Senator Jane Kitchel of McAllister of Franklin; Senator Bobby Starr of Troy; and first term Senator John Rodgers of Glover.

While all Northeast Kingdom senators are on board in support of the bill, Senator Rodgers is also in a position to advance it as he was recently assigned to sit on the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.

Committee assignments are handed out by a special three-member committee of the Senate at the beginning of a new legislative session. Handing out assignments this year were Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott, Senate Pro Tem President John Campbell, and Senator Richard Mazza.

Mr. Rodgers said he was “absolutely thrilled” to be back in the Legislature. A former member of the House, he lost a bid for reelection and had to sit out two years.

His return this year could be a windfall for those who want to pass the three-year moratorium.

Senator Rodgers said Tuesday in a phone interview that he hoped his connections with members in the House would improve the bill’s chance of getting a fair hearing there.

“We have a serious challenge in the House and we know it,” he said, speaking of opposition to the moratorium in the other chamber.

Just how deep that opposition runs may become more apparent when House members introduce a wind moratorium bill of their own.

Senator Rodgers noted that one was circulating through the State House this week but he was unable to name its sponsors.

Committee assignments Senator Bobby Starr of North Troy was picked to head the Senate Committee on Agriculture.

Senators are assigned to serve on two committees, and Senate Starr retained his seat on the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

Senator Jane Kitchel of Caledonia County will remain chairman of Appropriations and will also serve on the Senate Committee on Transportation.

In addition to his seat in Natural Resources, Senator John Rodgers will also sit on the Senate Committee on Institutions. He comes to his new assignment with experience, having served on the same committee in the House during his eight years as a representative.

Senator Joe Benning of Lyndon will serve as vice-chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and a member of the Senate Committee on Institutions.

Unlike senators, House members are assigned to serve on only one committee.

Representative Dick Lawrence of Lyndon will serve as vice-chairman for the House Committee on Agriculture.

Representative Michael Marcotte of Newport will serve as vice-chairman on the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development.

Glover Representative Sam Young has also retained his seat at Commerce, where he served during the last session as a freshman legislator.

Representative Vicki Strong of Albany will sit on the House Committee on Judiciary.

Representative Mark Higley of Lowell returns to his seat on the House Committee on Government Operations.

Representative Bill Johnson of Canaan will also retain his seat as a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Representative Lynn Batchelor of Derby will serve on the House Committee on Human Services.

Representative Duncan Kilmartin of Newport will serve on the House Committee on Transportation.

Representative Loren Shaw of Derby will fill a seat on the House Committee on Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources.

Source:  by Paul Lefebvre | the Chronicle | January 16, 2013 | bartonchronicle.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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