Hearing on water quality legislation to be held Feb. 13 in House Chamber

The Vermont House Agriculture and Forest Products Committee is holding a final hearing on H.586, a bill designed to improve water quality in Vermont, from 7 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 13 in the House Chamber.

The bill would set new regulations for agricultural activities that can cause water pollution. The legislation would require that farmers create buffer zones along waterways and fence livestock from rivers, streams, ponds and lakes. It would also require farmers to obtain discharge permits for stormwater runoff from the development of impervious surfaces of more than a half acre.

The proposal would establish a Water Resources Preservation Program to pay for projects that would improve water quality and prevent or repair flood damage.

Funding for the program would come from a fee assessed against all developed property; a 1-cent per bottle excise tax on bottled water and a 10-cent per package excise tax on flushable products.

Citizens who wish to testify can sign up a half hour before the hearing and leave written statements with the committee.

Read the bill as introduced: http://www.leg.state.vt.us/docs/2014/bills/Intro/H-586.pdf

Read the latest iteration of the bill: http://www2.leg.state.vt.us/legdir/committeeinfo.cfm?CommitteeID=193&Folder=House%20Fish%20and%20Wildlife/Bills&Sort=Bill

Anne Galloway


  1. Bill Olenick :

    I just read the proposed bill.
    If the bill passes as written then you can only farm in the state of VT, as the state tells you, including what and when you can add into your soil.
    If adds costly paperwork and oversight rules that are intrusive,time consuming and costly for both micro and macro farming operations in the state.
    The small self financed farmers will suffer greatly by another power grab, via regulation, by well meaning, but common sense clueless, do gooders, who want to control everything.
    Read the link at the bottom on the bill and you will be justly shocked by what you read and the extra costs to adhere to oversight,being pushed on small farmers.
    I am all for clean water but this is not the way to go about it, just tangling up farmers in oversight and paperwork, to feed highly educated pols, who regulate to feed their own ambitions and the heck with they, who they regulate…

  2. James Maroney :

    Olenick seems to feel that the farmers’ rights include the right to pollute the commons. He is wrong. And his grammar isn’t any good either. That would be “and the heck with them [the preposition “with” takes the objective personal pronoun, not the nominative], whom they regulate [to regulate is used here as a transitive verb so it too needs an objective relative pronoun, not the nominative].”

    • Bill Olenick :

      Not true James.
      You take what I say out of context, to promote your own opinion, but I am glad my scribblings got a reaction,as was my intent.
      There is a right way and a wrong way, so if you have a few abusers, police them, but do not add blanket regulations over everyone in the industry, and as to my grammar, I do the best I can, as I received my high school diploma the 3rd month in 9th grade and turned down a scholarship for college, to go logging, so I guess in your eyes only the highly educated can comment here or write overreaching laws, but lets make a deal…whenever I write a comment, would you kindly edit it for me,before I post it, as I would rather not upset your fine sense of wordsmithmanship? Thanks,Bill Olenick

  3. Vanessa Mills :

    Meanwhile, you have large-scale corporations running rough-shod over
    Vermont, her people, her mountains (where watershed processes begin, and looking to developer-centric policies and loopholes (facilitated by the current administration) to do so!

    You have corporate/industrial/utility-scale upper elevation development occurring in total disregard for watersheds and other ecosystems’ integral functions.
    Impact to water quality and quantity and the co-relating economic and social and environemntal impacts cannot & must not be denied.

    Please (copy-and-paste these on your browser and ) view:

  4. I love the 10 cent per package tax on toilet tissue. Just kidding. Less than a penny a roll if you buy twelve packs. C’mon. They are running out of things to tax.

  5. Peter Gregg :

    First, Vermont has a poor record of enforcement. Most of the rules are already in place if we would just enforce them. Google maps already identifies many potential violations.
    Second, and most important, is the fact that this is just another tax, a tax that will probably soon be rewritten and convoluted to meet a preponderance of currently non-funded programs.



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