“BENNINGTON — Gov. Phil Scott’s veto of a bill that would have enacted stricter regulation of toxic substances will stand after an an attempted override fell four votes short in the Vermont House on Wednesday.
Members voted 94 to 53, not enough to meet the two-thirds majority needed to override the governor’s veto.
The Vermont Senate had voted 22-8 Thursday to override Scott’s April 16 veto.
The bill, ‘An act relating to the regulation of toxic substances and hazardous materials,’ was prompted by PFOA contamination found in and around Bennington.
House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, in a statement after the vote, she said she was proud of the members who she said ‘voted to support transparency for Vermont families seeking to protect themselves from toxic substance exposure.’
‘It’s a tremendous disappointment to put this work in over two years and to see it die,’ Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, told the Banner after the House vote. Sears co-sponsored the bill with Sen. Brian Campion.
Campion, D-Bennington, said some provisions in the now vetoed legislation could be added to bills that are still in committee. ‘We might still be able to get a few things out of this,’ he said. ‘It’s still disappointing.’ Campion called the issue ‘timely’ and said other states are looking to address toxic substances.
Sears said he appreciates state officials’ efforts to bring clean drinking water to those impacted by PFOA contamination in their private wells. But the veto, he said, ‘doesn’t do any good in preventing future contamination…. We’re not learning from our mistakes.’
The bill originally passed in the House on a vote of 96-42.
Scott wrote in his veto message last week that the bill ‘has many negative unintended consequences, threatening our manufacturers’ ability to continue to do business in Vermont, and therefore, our ability to retain and recruit more and better paying jobs.’
The bill proposed a group that proponents said would have better managed chemicals while making recommendations on how to reduce their risk of use.
Scott, by executive order last summer, established a similar Interagency Committee on Chemical Management and Citizen’s Advisory Panel. The former is due to make its first round of recommendations by July.”
Read the full article by Ed Damon