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Flood Recovery and Resiliency the Central Issue for Legislators
Committees in both the House and Senate took testimony this week on the July flooding and the ongoing impacts of climate change in Vermont. Discussions in the Senate Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs Committee highlighted the connection between housing challenges and climate impacts. Encouragingly, the focus was not solely on where not to build, but also on identifying suitable areas for development. Witness testimony stated that the triumph of Irene was the reopening of roads and bridges, while the triumph from the July flooding needs to be the building of new housing outside of floodplains.
In a joint hearing, the House Environment and Energy Committee collaborated with the House Transportation Committee to also address flooding and climate resilience concerns. The discussion focused on conserving and restoring landscapes, including wetlands and floodplains, to mitigate storm impacts. Notably, nature-based solutions were recognized for their dual benefits in reducing flood risk and enhancing community recreation. The Vermont Chamber will be advocating for continued resources for flood-impacted businesses and for policies that increase resiliency while also building housing.