Resiliency Must Be Central To Rebuilding and Future Planning

In the wake of this summer’s catastrophic flooding, the Senate Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs Committee took extensive testimony to inform legislative needs for a long-term mitigation plan. The hearing covered housing and community resiliency as well as the workforce challenges that could hinder the ability to make progress on climate mitigation.

The hearings featured FEMA, climate experts, infrastructure specialists, state regulators, and advocates discussing the ongoing impacts of the flood. They also emphasized the need for a new perspective on growth strategies to focus on new, resilient, regions. This challenges historical standards for where development should occur.

Many members of the committee, who also serve on the Senate Finance Committee, stressed the challenge of finding ways to fund these critical initiatives, recognizing the mounting pressures on the state budget. Additionally, the hearing focused on the challenges of cultivating a diverse workforce capable of addressing climate challenges. The shortage of skilled labor required for recovery and the lack of resilient housing for displaced residents loom as significant hurdles.

Leading up to the 2024 session, Megan Sullivan, VP of Government Affairs, will serve on the Agency of Commerce and Community Development’s Vermont Economic and Community Development Task Force. The group will help shape Vermont’s future in the face of ongoing climate challenges and will inform legislative priorities.