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12A

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april 09-16, 2008

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» sevendaysvt.com

opinion << 11A

But there’s more fueling this conflict: Intervale officials had reason to believe they had already jumped through the archaeological hoop. When the City of Burlington sold land in 2007 to the Intervale Foundation via a conservation easement — which included money from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board — a DHPapproved contractor conducted an archeological assessment. That contractor identified several sites in the Intervale that needed to be protected, but also determined that current composting opera-

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on Native American Affairs. Commission member Judy Dow, appointed by Douglas, played a crucial role in instigating environmental reviews by the Natural Resources Board and Act 250 officials — even though its statutory authority relates solely to matters of culture and history, not to environmental regulation and enforcement. And — another coincidence? — the chair of the Natural Resources Board is Peter Young, Suzanne Young’s husband. Conspiracies aside, the zeal

Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin will soon announce his autumnal ambitions: another bid for lieutenant governor. tions were acceptable as long as they did not dig below plow depths. The assessment indicated that only future expansions should be reviewed in the context of underground archeological artifacts. As a result, the conservation easement specifically carved out an exclusion for the compost operations to continue as is. Several people contacted for this story say that DHP official Giovanna Peebles “signed off ” on this easement. DHP staff normally review VHCB-funded easements when historical sites are involved, said Dave Mace, spokesman for the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. For some unexplained reason, a review of this easement was “skipped.” In fact, Housing Commissioner John Hall issued a memo April 7 to inform all parties that DHP did not sign off on the easement variance, period. But how could the Intervale easement simply be overlooked? The sale of land to the Intervale Foundation was no secret — it became front-page news when some Burlington City Council members voiced concern that the nonprofit foundation was getting a “sweetheart deal.” Was it a coincidence that Intervale staff included House Speaker Gaye Symington (she left the organization earlier this year), or that David Zuckerman, a House Progressive and ag committee chairman, had a farm in the Intervale? In a closed-door meeting with DHP officials earlier this year, Intervale and CSWD reps walked away with a “clear sense” the DHP’s move was arbitrary, political and inflexible. There’s more in this saga for conspiracy theorists. For example, Gov. Jim Douglas’ top legal advisor, Suzanne Young, was a liaison between her boss and the Vermont Commission

with which several state agencies ganged up against the Intervale compost project should send a clear message to any similar operation in the state: Get ready. That is, unless you’re Douglas’ own brother-inlaw, who produces the popular Moo Doo compost. Think state lawyers will be flocking to his operation like hungry gulls? I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. The Dems’ Spring Dance — Just when you thought the Democratic Party had thrown in the towel and was going to give Douglas and Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie a free pass in November — voila! — House Speaker Symington says she’s thinking about a run for guv this fall. And, Seven Days has learned, Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin will soon announce his autumnal ambitions: another bid for lieutenant governor. If you recall, that’s a post he ran for and lost in 2002 in a hotly contested three-way race with Dubie and Progressive Anthony Pollina. Symington’s announcement hasn’t deterred Pollina, who has received invitations to speak to Democratic committees in Lamoille and Windham counties. And many observers speculate that a three-way race could benefit a Democrat this time around, rather than Douglas. Symington and Pollina could combine to keep the incumbent below 50 percent, which would then kick the race to the legislature to decide. And that might not turn out the same for Douglas as it did when he faced Democrat Doug Racine and Independent Con Hogan in 2002. Symington has had plenty of urging from party leaders, current and past, to make the run. Vermont hasn’t had a female governor since Madeleine Kunin in the 1980s, and the speaker has been building a lot

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Seven Days, April 9, 2008  

Why Natalie Garza Won’t Give Up the Seach for Her Son; Breaking Down the Compost Saga; Youngest House Representative Faces an Old Battle; Ea...

Seven Days, April 9, 2008  

Why Natalie Garza Won’t Give Up the Seach for Her Son; Breaking Down the Compost Saga; Youngest House Representative Faces an Old Battle; Ea...

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