One-time funding for brownfield cleanup could aid in Vermont economic growth, redevelopment

During his 2021 budget address, Vermont Governor Phil Scott announced his proposal for one-time funding of $25 million for cleaning up brownfields across the state. The effort is aimed at expediting site cleanup and remediation, which would then offer greater opportunity for economic growth and redevelopment.

In his address, Gov. Scott highlighted the Upper Valley Regional Landfill in Thetford, Vermont, which is currently working toward becoming a solar landfill. DRM is working closely with Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation (GMEDC) and Norwich Solar Technologies to overcome the unique challenges associated with repurposing this landfill. Currently, DRM is utilizing the probate process to resolve title issues stemming from the prior owner of the landfill, and is shepherding the site through Vermont’s Brownfields Reuse and Environmental Liability Limitation (BRELLA) program. DRM is also engaging with the Vermont Attorney General’s office and Department of Environmental Conservation to negotiate a path forward to develop the site within the confines of a settlement agreement that addressed the former landfill operations, and assisting Norwich Solar with solar permitting before the Public Utility Commission.

Taking otherwise unusable land with a complicated past and transforming it into a generation site for clean energy is no easy feat. The one-time funds proposed by Governor Scott have the potential to unlock other brownfield sites across the state for positive redevelopment.