Scott picks environmental lawyer to head Public Service Board

Environmental attorney Anthony Roisman will replace Jim Volz as chair of the Public Service Board, Gov. Phil Scott announced Thursday afternoon.

Roisman, of Weathersfield, has fought a range of environmental cases over the course of his legal career, often involving energy or toxics. He will assume the post on June 12 when Volz’s term expires.

The board oversees the siting of energy infrastructure, as well as public utility rates and service quality. In recent years, the board has been caught up in controversy over the siting of large-scale ridgetop wind projects. Environmentalists are split on the issue. Most believe renewables are an essential substitute for fossil fuel energy sources that are contributing to climate change. Others say turbines are a blight on the landscape and result in local environmental damage.

Scott announced Roisman’s appointment by email about an hour after President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris climate agreement, which would have limited U.S. carbon dioxide pollution.

On Wednesday, the governor, who opposes large-scale wind, said he had ensured the new PSB chair shares his views.

“Tony has been involved in administrative and legal proceedings involving energy facilities and energy issues for more than five decades, and I believe his experience will serve Vermont well as we navigate the transition to a cleaner and more affordable energy future that supports stronger economic growth and lower costs for families and employers,” Scott said in the announcement.

Roisman has fought prominent cases against wind development in Vermont, and earlier this year he succeeded in a case to prevent a large solar project in Maryland. Roisman has also litigated against nuclear plant operators and has extensive experience litigating claims for injury from exposure to toxic substances.

From 1977 to 1979, Roisman was a senior staff attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. In the early 1980s, he was chief of the Hazardous Waste Section and Special Litigator for Hazardous Waste in the Lands and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Roisman served as executive director of Trial Lawyers for Public Justice from 1982-1987.

Roisman is a 1960 graduate of Dartmouth College and 1963 graduate of Harvard Law School. He has been an adjunct professor and research fellow in environmental studies at Dartmouth College.

He lives in Weathersfield.

Mike Polhamus

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