‘Old growth’ forest tax break passes House


By Guy Page

A bill to give property owners tax incentives to keep forestland undeveloped passed the Vermont House yesterday by a 99-40 vote. 

According to an Ethan Allen Institute news coverage of the bill receiving preliminary approval Feb. 25, “The purpose of H.697 is to combat climate change by offering stronger tax incentives to keep Vermont’s forests undeveloped (free from logging and development). The goal is to increase ‘old growth forest’ from 1% to 9% of forested area in Vermont.”

“Since 1980 under Vermont’s Current Use program, Vermont landowners who farm or log plots of land could have that land taxed at a lower tax rate, rather than the higher rate for residential or commercial purposes.

“H.697 would allow Vermont landowners who own land with certain environmental attributes to join loggers and farmers in getting that lower tax rate under the Current Use program, if they manage that land with the goal of creating old-growth forest. These environmental attributes include:

“State-significant natural communities” (a group of interacting plants and animals, which can be ranked by importance)

Land containing “rare, threatened, and endangered species”

“Riparian areas” (areas close to rivers and steams)

“Forested wetlands” (forests growing in bodies of water)

“Vernal pools” (seasonal bodies of water without fish that nourish plants and animals).”

Here’s the roll call for yesterday’s vote:

Ancel of Calais Yea

Anthony of Barre City Yea

Arrison of Weathersfield Yea

Austin of Colchester Yea

Bartholomew of Hartland Yea

Beck of St. Johnsbury Yea

Birong of Vergennes Yea

Black of Essex Yea

Bluemle of Burlington Yea

Bongartz of Manchester Yea

Bos-Lun of Westminster Yea

Brady of Williston Yea

Briglin of Thetford Yea

Brown of Richmond Yea

Brownell of Pownal Yea

Brumsted of Shelburne Yea

Burke of Brattleboro Yea

Burrows of West Windsor Yea

Campbell of St. Johnsbury Yea

Christie of Hartford Yea

Cina of Burlington Yea

Coffey of Guilford Yea

Colburn of Burlington Yea

Conlon of Cornwall Yea

Copeland Hanzas of Bradford Yea

Corcoran of Bennington Yea

Cordes of Lincoln Yea

Dolan of Essex Yea

Dolan of Waitsfield Yea

Donnally of Hyde Park Yea

Durfee of Shaftsbury Yea

Elder of Starksboro Yea

Emmons of Springfield Yea

Gannon of Wilmington Yea

Garofano of Essex Yea

Goldman of Rockingham Yea

Grad of Moretown Yea

Harrison of Chittenden Yea

Hooper of Burlington Yea

Hooper of Montpelier Yea

Hooper of Randolph Yea

Houghton of Essex Yea

Howard of Rutland City Yea

James of Manchester Yea

Jessup of Middlesex Yea

Killacky of South Burlington Yea

Kimbell of Woodstock Yea

Kitzmiller of Montpelier Yea

Kornheiser of Brattleboro Yea

LaLonde of South Burlington Yea

Lanpher of Vergennes Yea

Lefebvre of Newark Yea

Lippert of Hinesburg Yea

Long of Newfane Yea

Masland of Thetford Yea

McCarthy of St. Albans City Yea

McCormack of Burlington Yea

McCullough of Williston Yea

Morris of Springfield Yea

Mrowicki of Putney Yea

Mulvaney-Stanak of Burlington Yea

Murphy of Fairfax Yea

Nicoll of Ludlow Yea

Nigro of Bennington Yea

Notte of Rutland City Yea

Noyes of Wolcott Yea

O’Brien of Tunbridge Yea

Ode of Burlington Yea

Pajala of Londonderry Yea

Partridge of Windham Yea

Patt of Worcester Yea

Pugh of South Burlington Yea

Rachelson of Burlington Yea

Rogers of Waterville Yea

Satcowitz of Randolph Yea

Scheu of Middlebury Yea

Shaw of Pittsford Yea

Sheldon of Middlebury Yea

Sibilia of Dover Yea

Sims of Craftsbury Yea

Small of Winooski Yea

Squirrell of Underhill Yea

Stebbins of Burlington Yea

Stevens of Waterbury Yea

Sullivan of Dorset Yea

Surprenant of Barnard Yea

Taylor of Colchester Yea

Till of Jericho Yea

Townsend of South Burlington Yea

Troiano of Stannard Yea

Vyhovsky of Essex Yea

Walz of Barre City Yea

Webb of Shelburne Yea

White of Bethel Yea

White of Hartford Yea

Whitman of Bennington Yea

Wood of Waterbury Yea

Yacovone of Morristown Yea

Yantachka of Charlotte Yea

Krowinski of Burlington Not Voting

Achey of Middletown Springs Nay

Brennan of Colchester Nay

Burditt of West Rutland Nay

Canfield of Fair Haven Nay

Cupoli of Rutland City Nay

Dickinson of St. Albans Town Nay

Donahue of Northfield Nay

Fagan of Rutland City Nay

Feltus of Lyndon Nay

Goslant of Northfield Nay

Graham of Williamstown Nay

Gregoire of Fairfield Nay

Hango of Berkshire Nay

Helm of Fair Haven Nay

Higley of Lowell Nay

Kascenska of Burke Nay

Labor of Morgan Nay

LaClair of Barre Town Nay

Laroche of Franklin Nay

Lefebvre of Orange Nay

Marcotte of Coventry Nay

Martel of Waterford Nay

Mattos of Milton Nay

McCoy of Poultney Nay

McFaun of Barre Town Nay

Morgan of Milton Nay

Morrissey of Bennington Nay

Norris of Sheldon Nay

Norris of Shoreham Nay

Page of Newport City Nay

Parsons of Newbury Nay

Pearl of Danville Nay

Peterson of Clarendon Nay

Rosenquist of Georgia Nay

Scheuermann of Stowe Nay

Smith of Derby Nay

Strong of Albany Nay

Toof of St. Albans Town Nay

Walker of Swanton Nay

Williams of Granby Nay

Bock of Chester Absent

Chase of Colchester Absent

Colston of Winooski Absent

Jerome of Brandon Absent

Leffler of Enosburgh Absent

Morgan of Milton Absent

Palasik of Milton Absent

Smith of New Haven Absent

Terenzini of Rutland Town Absent

Toleno of Brattleboro Absent

Categories: Legislation

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3 replies »

  1. If VT is anything like Maine than the forests are a treasure and should be saved. So much better than those hideous people plantations the union carpenters have been slapping together. Good for whomever all voted for saving the forests.

  2. Look– I’m ALL FOR private property rights & development/usage BUT..Has ANYONE reading this ever SEEN an old growth forest? There’s about 10 acres of one on a buddy’s land in Westfield & it’s a treasure..Near the town of Cherry Grove in western Pa., in the Allegheny Nat.’l Rec. Area is “Hearts Content Scenic Area” set aside from cutting over 100 years ago..It is incredible to be there, no understory or brush, eastern hardwoods so big 2 people cannot reach around them, truly awesome as any medieval cathedral. We should save & allow more of these for whatever reason so generations to come can SEE what their euro ancestors saw when they migrated here. Trust me, I’m NO enviro-whacko but SOME land & forests MUST be saved & pristine, just that simple.

  3. wait a minute………Land Use or Current Use already covers this………are we talking paying lumber companies to NOT cut up in NE kingdom??? cause as is now can cut and remove without penalty….change that

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