Tackling toxics: Will Vermont side with industry or citizens?

In the aftermath of the discovery in 206 of widespread contamination of drinking water around Bennington, Vermont, citizen’s groups have lobbied for laws to tighten restrictions on toxics. But on April 16, 2018, Gov. Phil Scott vetoed legislation intended to help protect children from toxic chemicals in toys and other products. The legislation, S.103, would have given the Commissioner of Health greater authority to regulate toxic chemicals, would have provided more information to consumers about toxins in children’s products, and would have required testing for toxins in new drinking water wells. “In the choice between protecting kids and pleasing industry lobbyists, [Scott] went with the lobbyists,” said Paul Burns, executive director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG). Burns discusses the battle over toxics in Vermont, as well as the future of renewable power, regulating data companies, and the future.

Paul Burns, executive director, Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG)