Green Economy

The word “green” has become synonymous with clean energy and a commitment to environmental and social responsibility.  The call for a strong green economy infused with jobs and projects related to the development of clean energy technology and transmission as well as the construction of efficient buildings is timely.  Many sectors of Vermont’s economy are grounded in principles that are congruent with those of traditionally green industries and businesses.  Vermont is poised to lead the nation in the development of green infrastructure and the creation of green jobs.

Green Infrastructure

As a lifelong Vermonter, Senator Leahy takes great pride in Vermont’s long tradition of environmental stewardship.  To continue this legacy, Senator Leahy encourages the construction of green infrastructure, which includes environmentally conscious buildings and urban development that protects and enhances natural resources.

The Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, located on the Burlington waterfront, is a tribute to Senator Leahy’s commitment to the protection and restoration of the Lake Champlain Basin – a critical component of Vermont’s natural systems.  To learn more about the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, please click here.

Central to Senator Leahy’s work for clean waterways in Vermont is a commitment to assisting farmers as they improve their stewardship of the land.  Agricultural conservation programs supported by Senator Leahy result in millions of dollars of conservation and water quality work each year on Vermont farms.  These programs have helped homeowners install rain gardens and towns upgrade their sewage treatment plants.

Additionally, Vermont is home to a growing number of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings.  LEED certified buildings adhere to stringent green design principles, as certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.  In 2003, ECHO at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain became the first building in Vermont to be awarded this certification.  Since that time, several other large-scale building projects in Vermont have followed suit.  The efforts of the owners and designers of these buildings are commendable as both Vermont and the nation look toward a future that will necessitate increased individual commitment to conservation.

Green Jobs

The United States continues to recover from a significant economic downturn, and Vermonters still struggle with relatively high unemployment rates.  In the midst of these challenging times, many have called for increased funding to bolster the development of a strong green jobs sector. This call has not gone unanswered.  New federal funding and stimulus money has poured into programs across the nation to train people to work in green energy production and construction. This infusion of support will help the unemployed find new opportunities to re-enter the workforce while also reducing our reliance on energy sources of the past.

Vermont is on the forefront of the green jobs revolution with cost-effective training programs and opportunities for advancement in the fields of green construction and infrastructure improvement.  With the help of the Congressional delegation, Vermont will continue to lead the nation in the coming years with a skilled workforce and cutting-edge green technology.