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The Groundwater Bill: A Case Study

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THE CLASS: PA-395: Vermont Common Asset Trust (VCAT)/Ecological Economics Atelier , Spring 2011 | This course examined the theory and ethics behind Common Asset Trusts and provided some background research necessary for Vermont's citizens and legislators to make informed decisions about VCAT. Working closely with state politicians and NGOs and building on previous research, students identified what common assets should be included in the trust, how the trust should manage and allocate these assets, and how much revenue the trust could generate.

HISTORY of the ISSUE: VCAT was introduced in 2007 by Senator Hinda Miller at S.44. Reintroduced in 2001 by Representative Chris Pearson as H.385. Parts of it have been introduced and passed such as public trust for groundwater (Act 199). The related bill under consideration during the class was H.407: AN ACT RELATING TO IMPOSING A ROYALTY FOR THE EXTRACTION OF GROUNDWATER FOR COMMERCIAL RESALE. It proposed a severance tax of 28 cents/gallon for groundwater extracted in Vermont and used for commercial resale such as bottled water.

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