This morning, the House voted in favor of LD 1647 as amended by a very close vote of 71-70. Thank you to Representatives Priest and Maloney for speaking articulately on the floor in opposition to the bill. We also thank Representatives Moulton, Strang-Burgess, Olsen and Volk for crossing party lines to vote against the bill. Earlier, the Senate voted in favor of the bill by a vote of 21-13. Thank you to Senators Dill, Woodbury and Goodall for speaking eloquently on the floor against the bill. While this bill has several additional steps to take before it’s enacted, these votes signal the direction it’s headed.
The Aggrieved Persons bill raises the hurdle for those who want to appeal a staff decision at the Department of Environmental Protection of the Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC) to the Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) or LURC. It requires BEP and LURC to conduct lengthy and technical legal investigations into whether citizens and citizen groups meet legalistic standing tests, slowing down the permitting processes. In many cases, citizens and citizen groups will have to hire lawyers to represent them, just to get the opportunity to participate in the process. It essentially makes it more difficult for the public to appeal when often these staff decisions are made with little public awareness and without a public hearing.