With just one dissenter, Senate OKs ‘environmental justice’ bill

By Guy Page

With only Sen. Russ Ingalls (R-Essex/Orleans) voting no, the Vermont Senate yesterday gave final approval to S148, the ‘environmental justice’ bill.

S148 creates a new advisory board and requires new state policies because “Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color (BIPOC) and low-income individuals are disproportionately exposed to environmental hazards and unsafe housing, facing higher levels of air and water pollution, mold, lead, and pests.” 

The bill cites these examples:

  • BIPOC and low-income communities nationally face disproportionately negative impacts of agency decisions, such as approving permits for facilities like mines and landfills.
  • Water contaminants like lead and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are disproportionately found in Vermont communities with higher populations of BIPOC and low-income individuals.
  • Cumulative impacts of environmental harms, including air and water pollution, low-quality housing stock, and greater exposure to extreme weather events disproportionately and adversely impact the health of BIPOC and low-income communities.
  • BIPOC individuals own less than 2 percent of private woodland, only approximately 0.9 percent of agricultural land, and 0.6 percent of forestland, which is largely made up of Abenaki tribal ownership in Vermont.
  • The Center for American Progress finds that 76 percent of BIPOC individuals in Vermont live in “nature deprived” census tracts with a higher proportion of natural areas lost to human activities than the Vermont median. In contrast, 20 percent of White individuals live in these areas.

The bill requires:

  • An environmental justice policy for the State of Vermont
  • State agencies incorporate environmental justice into their work and track all complaints to the contrary
  • Establish the per-diem Advisory Council on Environmental Justice within the Agency of
  • Natural Resources to advise the State on environmental justice issues, policies and legislation
  • Creation of an environmental justice mapping tool.

The bill now proceeds to the Vermont House. For Ingalls, opposing the bill was a simply question of fairness.

“It discriminates against other poor people,” Ingalls said. “I don’t want to discriminate against anyone. If you have two poor people, and one is a person of color, the person of color is more than likely going to be helped before that other equally deserving person. Color should not make a difference.”

19 replies »

  1. Hey, what if we find a new way to create an unnecessary agency with no scientific basis and fund more government jobs that nobody but virtue signaling legislators want.


  2. Or…..how about we encourage many no/low income folks to better themselves by not using drugs, not having kids prematurely, not dropping out of school, not getting into trouble with the law – and then eventually retaining respectable, well-paying jobs …….. (ready for it?) In order to ATTAIN suitable housing????????

    You know, let we all did decades again?

  3. This state is becoming the poster child for ‘Go Woke….Go Broke.’

    Beware….’Environmental Justice’ could mean anything. Including kicking you off your property if you’re white.

  4. Anybody remember the POST (Property Owners Stand Together) or the Take Back Vermont movements of the early 2000s ? Maybe it’s time to resurrect them ?

  5. I think we should end the current Legislative session immediately before they cause more harm and in the future just put the legislators “on call”. If something urgent arises they can go into session, otherwise they should just continue to work their regular jobs or whatever they do. It’s scary how much damage they cause to Vermont with every legislative session.

    • put a time limit on the session, budget first, any left over to those “pet projects, committees, ect ect”
      and all need a course in economics/budgeting before going to montpelier…….for a 2 month? session, that would be my vote. they have WAY too much time and this year MONEY ..its burning a hole in …..well it’ll be our pockets eventually and most absolutely unnecessary, unusual and discriminatory……..really

  6. How many more of these “social justice” and do-gooder initiatives can Vermont withstand? Just this session, the legilature is looking at several. Give back land to Abenakis. Environmental justice laundry list. “Truth and reconciliation” commission (investigators).Tinkering wonkishly with education funding. Climate / EVs / heat pumps/ solariization and other climate goodies ad infinitum. So much time, money, mental effort, bureacracy. Goodbye, Vermont.

  7. It was not that long ago that the Legislature met every other year for 6 weeks. Of course back then the Legislature was composed of working class people, and farmers that could not afford to be away from home and work for very long. Ahh the good ole days ! If we could only return to that so the self important hemorrhoids we have in Montpelier now would not have time to spend on Woke, Socialist C.S. !

  8. Sad reflection on Vermont GOP senators going along with this charade. This bad legislation would of passed w/o their support. We’re supposed to be the party of fiscal conservatives, yet here we are supporting this progressive wet dream spending more of our tax dollars.

  9. A Marxist Revolution is going on in Vermont.

    The original Marxist Theory is one of social conflict, pitting lower class against upper class and convincing the former that they have been alienated and exploited by the latter. The goal of Marxism is Revolution or the overthrow of the existing government and existing social order.

    Neo-Marxism (in the form of Critical Race Theory) replaces class for race in creating the social conflict necessary for Revolution. Everything is about the deconstruction of the existing order or regime.

    For example Burlington’s recently announced ‘homeless Pod community’ soon to be established in downtown Burlington isn’t about housing the homeless as much as it will be used for the continued dismantlement of the existing social order.

    Thread-by-thread the socialists in Vermont’s government (aka progressive-Democrats) will impose Socialism in Vermont often with the aid of gullible republicans (like those Senators who voted for this so-called ‘environmental justice’ bill) who think this is somehow about compassion and justice.

    • To wit, from James Lindsey’s recently published book, Race Marxism:

      “[R]ights that have been endowed by the Creator are to be transformed (or sublated) into privileges that are granted by a racially “conscious” state….

      “This will be determined by racial category and racial politics by Critical Race Theorists, who alone are Theorized to have the necessary race consciousness.

      “Thus Critical Race Theory establishes two sets of rule books: one for this who support it and one for those against it.”

      The gullible Republican state senators who voted for this ‘environmental justice’ bill unwittingly negated the principles in the Declaration of Independence. Vermont House Republicans are doing the same thing. They might claim ignorance but myself, John Klar and others have been writing and warning of this for quite some time now. My harsh indictment is that they’re poorly read (they don’t read books) and they lack inquisitiveness.

  10. Don’t worry people! “ANR” stands for “Agency (of) No Response”! We could NOT get them to do ANYTHING about rampant, obvious pollution so to think they’re gonna do ANYTHING now but keep their chairs warm & draw a paycheck? Ha ha ha! Since WHEN do we even listen to the ‘Center For American Progress” anyways? Seen their website lately? Only thing missing is a hammer & sickle! Any further LEFT & they’d be driving like the English, eventually leaving the roadway! Thanks God we have ONE SANE senator up here in the NEK, BTW, where was Bobby Starr’s vote on this travesty? Hey Bobby! More common sense & LESS party BS!

  11. Just what we need ANOTHER advisory board. What happened to any economic benefit analysis and who pays when the free money stops flowing from Washington? Thank you Senator Ingalls for not falling for this “woke” legislation.

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