Senate kills bill giving towns more input in siting solar projects

first_imgby John Herrick vtdigger.orgA bill to give towns more say in where solar projects are located died on the Senate floor Wednesday night after lawmakers and environmental groups cautioned the bill would slow renewable energy growth in Vermont.The Senate voted 21-8 against the bill on second reading.The Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee approved S.191, which was later amended to require ground-mounted solar installations (as opposed to rooftop solar projects) to undergo the same town zoning and screening restrictions as other commercial development.Renewable energy advocates were on guard to stop the bill, but Senate lawmakers were quick to intervene and kill it on the floor.The state has established a clean-energy target to source 90 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. Senate lawmakers said the bill could chip away a statewide goal designed to serve the public good.Sen. David Zuckerman, P-Chittenden, opposed the bill, saying it bill would create hurdles for renewable energy progress.“This bill is going to allow communities with varying degrees of ordinances and setback requirements, and so forth and so on, to actually impede that goal, which is a very ambitious goal, but one that many people agree is a very important goal with respect to sourcing our energy from renewable projects,” Zuckerman said.The committee heard testimony from residents and town officials in Rutland Town and Charlotte, rural communities that are prime locations for solar installations. With the rapid growth of the solar industry affecting these towns, the committee’s intent was to give communities a say in where projects are located.The committee said it did not intend to restrict solar projects.“I don’t think this bill in any way impedes solar,” said committee member Sen. Peter Galbraith, D-Windham. “I think it is way overstated that this is going to set back our solar objectives.”Under the bill, the Public Service Board would not be able to waive town zoning and screening bylaws when deciding whether to approve energy generation projects through the Section 248 review process.The Department of Public Service, which represents ratepayers in utility matters, opposed the rule changes. It was unclear what effect the proposal would have on electricity rates, the department said.PHOTO: Solar farm in Shelburne.last_img read more

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Measure to revamp judicial education stalls

first_img March 15, 2017 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News Measure to revamp judicial education stalls Measure to revamp judicial education stalls Senior Editor A bill to revamp judicial education in Florida and perhaps cut its staffing has been tabled in the Florida House. The sponsor for HB 175 tabled it February 22 in the Justice Appropriations Subcommittee after members from both parties questioned whether it was moving too fast. Rep. Cord Byrd, R-Jacksonville Beach, said he had already agreed to make substantial changes to the bill after meeting with other representatives and the judiciary, but none of the changes were ready for the subcommittee’s review. “Nothing in this bill suggests judges should receive less education. This bill does nothing to cut court education,” Byrd said. “It gives your local judge more input into the education they receive.” He said the goal was to cut waste and improve services. As originally drafted, the bill would remove court education under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and place it in a council made up of the chief judges of the 20 circuits and the five district courts of appeal. The council would be located in the Ninth Circuit, although Byrd said he was going to drop that provision and keep education operations in Tallahassee. The bill would also reduce the number of court employees devoted to court education from the current 15 (another two positions are authorized but currently unfilled) to three. Byrd argued that 44 percent of the court education budget, funding by court filing fees, is going to administration, but he said after meeting with other representatives and court officials that many of those other jobs might not be cut. Rep. Kimberly Daniels, D-Jacksonville, asked Byrd if he had determined what staffing level was appropriate. “That determination has not been made. We’re working with them to determine which employees should be under OSCA (the Office of the State Courts Administrator) and which would be under the (court education) trust fund,” Byrd replied. Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, R-Orlando, noted the bill identified employees who work on developing judicial education programs as administrative and who would fall under the bill’s 15 percent limit on administrative expenditures. Byrd replied that he did not consider those employees administrative and that was one of the changes he was working on with help from the courts. Fourth District Court of Appeal Judge Jonathan Gerber said court officials are working with Byrd on the bill, and said they support his goal of improving judicial education. He added the court system is willing to do an internal review of education and welcomed an outside examination from the Legislature or its Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability. But he said that review might take more time than the Legislature has this year. Pressed on whether the judiciary supports or opposes Byrd’s bill, Gerber said, “In its current form, we would oppose the bill. I say so not in a hostile manner but in a constructive manner.” He said the current education program produced eight week-long seminars for judges every year, in addition to judicial college for new judges and “bench books” to help new judges and judges who switch divisions. Noting that the details are still being worked out, Rep. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Boynton Beach, said, “Without knowing the changes. . . this should be put on hold until we see what your compromise is, what your inner workings with the branch are.” Added Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, “I don’t think you have the votes. I think this has the potential to be good policy. I’m going to ask you to TP [temporarily pass, or table] it. There’s plenty of time to get this bill done.” Byrd agreed and tabled his bill, which puts it on hold at least until the committee meets again in early March, after the Legislative session begins on March 7. While Byrd told the committee that administrative costs might be as high as 44 percent, State Courts Administrator PK Jameson, outside the meeting, released figures which said the actual amount is around 12 percent and the remainder of employee time is devoted to developing or supporting education programs. She said 3.5 full-time positions are devoted to administrative issues and 11.5 positions “work on curriculum development and programming for training and education.” Last year, 3,245 judges and court personnel took courses paid by the Court Education Trust Fund. “The courts approach all expenditures with care. We take very seriously our responsibility to be good stewards of public money. We think the work of the Court Education Trust Fund exemplifies this approach and represents significant effectiveness and efficiency while providing required training and education,” Jameson said. She added, “The courts are always open to ideas to improve operations to best serve the shared interests of taxpayers and citizens and would welcome a study or review of how court education is provided. We are concerned, however, that this proposal as drafted would be harmful to judicial education. Rather than the current practice of providing instruction by Florida judges, much of the education would have to be purchased from third parties including out-of-state providers at a substantially higher cost.”last_img read more

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How to Get Beyond Our Tribal Politics

first_imgThe Wall Street Journal:The most-watched made-for-TV movie in American history is “The Day After,” a 1983 portrayal of life in Kansas and Missouri in the days just before and after an all-out nuclear war with the Soviet Union. If you’ve had even fleeting thoughts that Tuesday’s election could bring about the end of the world or the destruction of the country, you might want to find “The Day After” on YouTube, scroll to minute 53 and watch the next six minutes. Now that’s an apocalypse.…We think that it is. After all, civility doesn’t require consensus or the suspension of criticism. It is simply the ability to disagree productively with others while respecting their sincerity and decency. That can be hard to do when emotions run so high. But if we understand better the psychological causes of our current animosity, we can all take some simple steps to turn it down, free ourselves from hatred and make the next four years better for ourselves and the country. Three time-honored quotations can serve as guides.…Mrs. Clinton began with weak praise by saying that she respects Mr. Trump’s children. But then she made it strong and generous by noting how “incredibly able” those children are and how devoted they are to their father, adding, “I think that says a lot about Donald.” Mr. Trump responded in kind: “I will say this about Hillary. She doesn’t quit, and she doesn’t give up. I respect that.”That brief exchange was emotionally powerful—the only uplifting moment of the night for many viewers. Had it been the opening exchange, might the debate have been more elevated, more constructive?This has been a frightening year for many Americans. Questions about the durability, legitimacy and wisdom of our democracy have been raised, both here and abroad. But the true test of our democracy—and our love of country—will come on the day after the election. Starting next Wednesday, each of us must decide what kind of person we want to be and what kind of relationship we want to have with our politically estranged cousins.Read the whole story: The Wall Street Journallast_img read more

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Improve port infrastructure for better trade in food products – study

first_img You may be interested in… (IICA Press Release) The Business Development Thematic Group (BDTG), chaired by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), with support from Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member countries, presented the Region’s Ministers of Agriculture with findings and recommendations of a study that analyzed the weaknesses and opportunities in intraregional food trade and transportation. The study also proposed actions to improve the regional transportation system and logistics environment, in a bid to enhance production development in these countries. Study maintains that improvements in port infrastructure will foster smooth and secure trade flow of food products as well as the development of small farmers in the Region. World Bank Provides US$8M to Strengthen Agriculture and Food… 13th Annual Caribbean Plant Health Directors Forum to be… Aug 19, 2020 Aug 27, 2020 Pamela Coke-Hamilton Named New Head of International Trade… Jul 27, 2020 Caribbean Ministers of Agriculture Explore Funding Options to Mitigate Effects of the Pandemic on AgricultureIICA and the CARICOM Secretariat organized a virtual meeting that included the participation of high-level authorities of the agriculture sector, representatives of financial institutions, development organizations and donors. San Jose, 8 June (2020) The ministers and secretaries of Agriculture of 14 Caribbean countries learned about funding opportunities they will be able…June 9, 2020In “Agriculture”CARCIOM Secretariat launches projects on Market Infrastructure, Market Information in AgricultureThe Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat recently launched two initiatives to support the development of the Region’s agriculture sector relative to the assessment of the market infrastructure needs and improving the information system for Caribbean agribusiness. These initiatives are elements of a series of activities under the Caribbean component of the…May 6, 2015In “Barbados”Caribbean Week of Agriculture 2016 in Cayman IslandsOrganisers are putting the final touches on preparations for the Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) to be held in the Cayman Islands later this month. The CWA, the Region’s premier agriculture event, will be held in Grand Cayman, 24-28 October, 2016, under the theme ‘Investing in food and agriculture’. This…October 10, 2016In “CAHFSA”Share this on WhatsApp During the presentation, the Bahamian Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, Michael Pintard, acknowledged that, “Logistics for transportation and trade of fresh produce along trade routes is of vital importance to the Region and taking action in this regard is a matter of urgency”. The study pinpointed successful cases worth emulating, such as the Container Examination Station at Point Lisas Industrial Port Development Corporation in Trinidad and Tobago and the in-port cold storage facility operated by Barbados Ice Company (BICO). However, these cases must now be replicated in other countries in the region and reforms undertaken to streamline transactions at Customs and other border agencies. There is also a need to harmonize customs procedures throughout the region. The presentation was made by Nigel Durrant, Agribusiness Specialist in the CARICOM Secretariat, who stressed the needs of small producers and exporters, who transport much of the fresh produce in the region, particularly in the Eastern Caribbean, which often has limited refrigeration facilities and infrastructure for loading operations and storage. Durrant went on to explain that the study had identified three logistics routes for the Southern, Eastern and Northern Caribbean, and had indicated the types of investments that would be needed to improve the integration of these routes. The presentation also spoke to work being undertaken by the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) in the area of agricultural insurance; the development of agricultural trade ties throughout the Region by the Caribbean Export Development Agency; and the creation of investment profiles by the Caribbean Agribusiness Association and the Institute. Share this:PrintTwitterFacebookLinkedInLike this:Like Loading… Aug 10, 2020 CARDI Working With Stakeholders to Bolster Agriculture… last_img read more

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Fairview buys Hertfordshire regeneration site

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Highlights of the Week – Readers’ Choice

first_imgInvestigation Launched After Fatal Dredging AccidentThe body of Floris Heeren, a 23-year-old Belgian crew member of the “Juan Sebastian de Elcano”, who died after falling off his ship Monday, November 3rd, has been recovered and brought to a funeral parlor, reported the abs-cbnnews.Southampton Port Ready for GiantsAssociated British Ports’ Port of Southampton is ready to handle the biggest ships in the world today and long into the future after a £40 million dredging project.Boskalis Acquires Stake in FugroRoyal Boskalis Westminster N.V., a leading global maritime services company operating in the dredging and inland infra, and offshore energy sectors, has acquired a 14.8% stake in Fugro N.V.Official Start of the New Suez Canal ProjectHead of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Mohab Mamish and United Arab Emirates Minister of State Sultan Ahmed al-Gaber earlier this week gave the green light for the start of dredging works on the new Suez Canal project.Steel Cutting Ceremony for Dredger “Mahury”The steel cutting ceremony for the new project, the 1.840 m3 twin screw trailing suction hopper dredger “Mahury”, will take place at MTG Dolphin on 25th of November 2014.Dredging Today Stafflast_img read more

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Expert determination: A short cut through a swamp

first_imgTo continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe now for unlimited access Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img read more

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Squamish Terminals names Lowe

first_imgShe replaces Tom Rasmussen (president & ceo of Grieg Star Shipping) who has also been acting president and chair of the Squamish Terminals board since August 2014 when Ron Anderson retired.Joe Webber will remain vice president operations and on the Squamish Terminals’ board.Stegeman-Lowe joined Squamish Terminals in March 2008 as manager of business administration and was promoted to vice president administration in 2014.She becomes responsible for all aspects of the port’s operations and will concentrate on the commercial development of the terminal. www.sqterminals.comlast_img

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Family of Indian national slain in Jamaica wants answers

first_imgRakesh The family of a 23-year-old Indian national, who was shot and killed in Kingston, is calling on both the Indian and Jamaican governments to ensure that there is a thorough investigation of the murder.The family of Rakesh Talreja, who was shot in the chest during an armed robbery at his home on February 9, are unwilling to believe the circumstances surrounding his death.They have written to the governments of both countries demanding the probe and claiming that there are several problems with the official version of his death.The police say they are searching for four men in connection with the crime which also resulted in the injury to another un-named man at Talreja’s home.Police said they are working on the theory that the Indian national and a friend had bought jewellery from a store in Kingston and drove home where they were attacked.last_img read more

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Reggae Girlz remain positive

first_imgDespite losing their debut against Brazil 0 – 3 in the FIFA World Cup, the Jamaican national soccer team, the Reggae Girlz, remain positive as they prepare for their next game against Italy on Friday June 14. In an interview with the Jamaican Observer  most of the girls admitted nerves and inexperience caused mistakes on the field, but said they will learn from these mistakes, and remedy them in time for Friday’s game.Jamaica’s star player Khadija “Bunny” Shaw, 22. who did not have a particular exceptional game on Sunday against Brazil, said that more and better is to come from the Jamaicans.Gave best effortShe said the game didn’t go as the team planned. “Brazil is a great team and we are the less experienced, but we don’t focus on that we know that once we cross that touchline we are just as good. Obviously, it’s not the result that we wanted but we worked hard for each other and we gave it our best effort.“We didn’t know what to expect and now we can see that this is the reality, so going into the next game we should be more relaxed and just play our game. So hopefully coming the next game I can keep working and improve from this,” said Shaw.Focusing on next game “Obviously we are going to go back and look at the film and see where we went wrong and hopefully we can talk about it as a team and put this game behind and focus on the next game against Italy,” she added.Playing at the World Cup, as the first Caribbean team to do so, Shaw said, should give Jamaicans something to believe in, especially given the country’s limited resources when compared to their more illustrious opponents.Welcome crowd support Shaw and the rest of the Reggae Girlz were pleasantly surprised and welcomed the support from large number of Jamaican fsns who were among the 17,668 spectators who attended Sunday’s game. Shaw said the crowd support was particularly motivational as it underscores the team isn’t just playing for themselves but for Jamaica and Jamaicans.last_img read more

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