Environmental justice sought for Vermont

by John Flowers, Addison Independent, October 25, 2021

MIDDLEBURY — Kesha Ram Hinsdale was a senior at the University of Vermont in 2007 when she pitched a first-ever environmental justice policy for the state.

While she found a dedicated group of sponsors for the legislation, H.463, a majority of lawmakers back then weren’t convinced of a pressing need for Vermont to pass such a measure.

Almost 15 years later, Ram Hinsdale is again championing an environmental justice bill — this time as a state senator representing Chittenden County.

“We’re building a movement,” the Shelburne Democrat told members of the Middlebury College community, who on Oct. 14 hosted her for a talk on her efforts to pass S.148. The bill, among other things, would establish an environmental justice policy for the state and require agencies to incorporate environmental justice into their work.

“I understand a lot of the barriers in Vermont to passing this legislation have been because it’s a language that largely developed from an urban context,” Ram Hinsdale said. “People have come to think of this as an ‘urban’ issue.”

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