Appropriations Chairman Leahy Announces More Than $15 Million For Vermont Projects In The Energy And Water Appropriations Bill, Approved Wednesday By The Appropriations Committee

WASHINGTON (THURSDAY, Aug. 5, 2021) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, on Thursday announced more than $15 million in funding for specific Vermont projects in the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2022 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill that will support the Lake Champlain Basin and renewable energy throughout the state.  This is the annual Appropriations bill that funds several federal agencies.

Leahy secured more than $5 million in Congressionally Directed Spending to support the construction phase of the Burlington Electric Department’s district energy project, which will deliver renewable thermal energy to Vermonters from Burlington’s McNeil Biomass Generating Station.  In the bill approved Wednesday by the Appropriations Committee, Leahy also secured $5 million to support Vermont Energy Investment Corp’s (VEIC) collaboration with 17 distribution utilities to deploy thermal energy storage technology around the state.  The project will better manage energy use by homes, government buildings, schools, and hospitals with a focus on economically distressed rural areas and areas where grid constraints make deploying renewable energy more difficult, like the Northeast Kingdom. 

Leahy said:  “Vermont has not escaped the climate crisis, and I’m proud to support these projects that will continue to move our state toward a clean and renewable energy future.”

Leahy also secured $5 million in Congressionally Directed Spending to support the Army Corps of Engineers in carrying out environmental infrastructure and habitat restoration projects throughout the Lake Champlain Basin.  Several projects are ready to break ground but have been stifled due to insufficient and unpredictable funding.  The resources secured by Leahy will enable these projects to advance quickly to construction. 

Leahy said:  “Lake Champlain is the crown jewel of Vermont, and these funds will go a long way to ensure it remains that way for generations to come.”

These priorities are a portion of the more than $20 million Leahy secured in total in Congressionally Directed Spending in this bill for Vermont.  Other projects included in the Energy and Water Bill at Leahy’s request include:

  • $500,000 for the Rutland West Neighborhood Housing Service to support Northeast Kingdom home weatherization;
  • $4 million for the University of Vermont to support a hybrid solar testing platform for cold weather climates; and
  • $750,000 for the Randolph Area Community Development Corporation to support net-zero homes at the Salisbury Square Redevelopment project.

Leahy, as the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, took the leading role in restoring the practice of Congressionally Directed Spending with new reforms and an unprecedented level of transparency.  More about Leahy’s reforms are available here.  The Senate Fiscal Year 2022 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill will now be considered by the full Senate.  A full summary of the bill can be found HERE.

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