Report: State Could Improve Policy, Offset Oil CostsNRDC Report Says Transportation Planning Can Buffer Automotive Fuel CostsVermont could be doing more to protect its citizens from the high costsof fuel oil for our cars and trucks, according to a new report releasedby the Natural Resources Defense Council, a national environmentalgroup.States that adopt laws to promote clean and efficient vehicles, preventsprawl, and invest in public transit, are helping protect their citizensfrom high oil prices, according to the report, “Fighting Oil Addiction:Ranking States’ Oil Vulnerability and Solutions for Change.””Based on this report, the results for Vermont are mixed,” said BrianShupe, the sustainable communities director and energy co-director forthe Vermont Natural Resources Council. “Despite our green image andreputation for forward-thinking policy, this report shows that Vermontis not among the most innovative states when it comes to taking steps toreduce our reliance on oil for transportation.”The report highlights two critical areas related to our nation’saddiction to oil: vulnerability to high oil prices and implementation bystates of policy alternatives and solutions.Vermont ranks 16th among the 50 states with regard to the specificpolicy steps the state is taking to cut down on oil use, but ithighlights some gaps. The report also shows that the state is relativelyvulnerable to high oil prices based on Vermonters’ incomes. According tothe report, Vermont motorists spent an average of $1,856 on gasoline in2007. This amounts to 5.1 percent of the average income, making thestate the 31st most vulnerable to high oil prices. The report does notconsider oil use for heating.One area in which the NRDC report finds Vermont lagging relates togrowth management and planning.”Several states have an agency that coordinates development policieswith state spending decisions to promote smart growth and avoid sprawl,”Shupe explained, “but Vermont lacks such an entity. We did get pointsfor Act 200 (Vermont’s planning and growth management law), although thestate agency planning requirements of that law have been ignored forover a decade.”The report also noted that Vermont lacks a target for reducing vehiclemiles traveled by Vermonters. Between 2000 and 2005, the average numberof vehicle miles traveled increased by 11 percent.”This is largely because we’re developing communities that are notwalkable and are difficult to serve by transit,” Shupe said. “Greaterefforts to promote smart growth, avoid scattered, low densitydevelopment and invest in alternative transportation are critical toreducing our vulnerability to sticker shock at the gas pump.”According to the report, the five states implementing the mostcomprehensive policies to reduce oil use are California, followed by NewYork, Connecticut, Washington and Pennsylvania. In New England, RhodeIsland, Maine and Massachusetts also rank ahead of Vermont.For a copy of the full report go to www.nrdc.org/media/2008/080722.asp(link is external)
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Hempstead town officials approved Tuesday long-awaited plans to renovate the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale—one month after the aging arena’s anchor tenant, the New York Islanders, began moving to Brooklyn.The conceptual master plan for the property had been submitted to the town last month by Nassau Events Center, a subsidiary of Forest City Ratner Companies, which previously lured Long Island’s lone professional sports team to the developer’s new Barclays Center in Prospect Heights.“We look forward to beginning construction in the near future so that we can bring all Long Island residents the reimagined venue they truly deserve,” said Bruce Ratner, executive chairman of Forest City Ratner, which signed a 34-year lease with the county.Renovations are scheduled to begin in August after Billy Joel plays the venue’s last concert while the facility is under management of SMG. Renovating the 416,000-square-foot arena and developing 188,000-square-feet of surrounding property is the first phase of a planned $260-million redevelopment of the 91-area site.Aside from new restaurants, hotels, parking garages, a movie theater and other unspecified entertainment on the land surrounding the coliseum, two Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center facilities have been proposed for the site.The plan follows years of failed attempts to redevelop the property by outgoing Islanders owner Charles Wang, who had proposed a multi-billion-dollar mixed-use development at the site before Hempstead officials told him to scale it back, essentially killing what was known as The Lighthouse Project. Nassau County voters later rejected a proposal to borrow $400 million to renovate the coliseum.Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray said that Ratner’s plan “provides for balanced and sustainable development.”The board was able to expedite the approval process since Ratner made his site plans fit the requirements of the Mitchel Field Mixed Use District, which the town had created while considering the Lighthouse Project in 2011.
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