Environment

Chairman of state Natural Resources Board leaving

Deb Markowitz, secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources, unveils new report about the status of Vermont's environment. Photo by Taylor Dobbs

Ron Shems will be replaced by Jon Groveman. Change comes as the state is shifting some of the board’s administrative functions to ANR.

State: Farmers will be subject to pollution penalties

Farmers St Albans

In order to reduce runoff, Ross said farmers can use manure injection systems, plant cover crops during the off season and vegetative buffers between waterways, build fences to exclude livestock from waterways, or make improvements to barnyards, among other options.

Ag Secretary Chuck Ross cracks down on farm pollution

Chuck Ross

Following on Gov. Shumlin’s Lake Champlain-centered inaugural address, the administration moves to implement tight anti-water pollution policies.

Goddard College divests from fossil fuels

Goddard College divested its endowment holdings in fossil fuel companies, the college announced this month, making it Vermont’s third educational institution to divest from the industry. At least 14 other colleges and universities have divested, including Sterling College and Green Mountain College, in an effort to pull financial capital away from the fossil fuel industry. […]

Lawmakers move to ban plastic scrubbing beads

A microbead we found in the Gulf of Maine in 2013. Photo courtesy Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean.

Synthetic microbeads found in personal care products slip through treatment plants, endangering fish. Industry agrees with ban but seeks time to implement it.

Administration begins action on water quality

Rep. David Deen, D-Putney, chair of the Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources Committee, is working on a bill to regulate toxic chemicals found in consumer products. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

New regulations for farming practices is a centerpiece of the bill. The industry accounts for about 40 percent of phosphorus pollution in Lake Champlain, according to EPA estimates.

Vergennes could face fine for sewage spill

A pile of sludge at Burlington's waterfront wastewater treatment plant. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

A mechanical failure at a pump station in Vergennes dumped 12,700 gallons of untreated sewage into the Otter Creek on Sunday.

Environmental groups back Shumlin on water quality plan

Chris Kilian, Vermont director of the Conservation Law Foundation, joined a group of advocates backing Gov. Peter Shumlin’s plan on water quality at the Statehouse on Wednesday. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

Supporters say finding the money will be a challenge, but generally agree with Gov. Peter Shumlin’s inaugural goal of improving the quality of the state’s water bodies.

State receives $16 million more for Lake Champlain cleanup

Vicky Drew, a state conservationist with Natural Resources Conservation Service, announced a federal grant for Lake Champlain cleanup efforts at the Statehouse on Wednesday. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

The grant from the Regional Conservation Partnership Program can be used to pay for conservation practices that prevent nutrient runoff from farms and forest.

Trey Martin named deputy secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources

Trey Martin is the new deputy secretary for the Agency of Natural Resources, officials announced last month. Martin, who was the chief legislative lobbyist for the Department of Environmental Conservation, was named deputy secretary by Natural Resources Secretary Deb Markowitz in December. He started his new job on Jan. 2, officials say. He said in […]

Legislative preview: Energy credits, lake cleanup to top agenda

Caption coming soon

Carbon tax unlikely, but a replacement for the SPEED program for renewable energy and ways to pay for Lake Champlain cleanup will keep lawmakers busy.

Sarah Hofmann tapped for Vermont Public Service Board post

Gov. Peter Shumlin has appointed Sarah Hofmann to the Public Service Board. Hofmann will replace John Burke who is retiring. She will begin hearing cases at the board in March. Hofmann is a former deputy commissioner and public advocate for the Department of Public Service. She currently serves as executive director of the New England […]

State scores federal money for Lake Champlain

Burlington Bay on Lake Champlain in Burlington. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

About $4.4 million will go toward Lake Champlain’s water quality restoration and monitoring effort. The money could support over 100 projects around the lake.

Conservation Law Foundation appeals state decision in an effort to stem manure runoff into the Missisquoi

Photo by Cory Dawson/VTDigger

After Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross refused to require best practices on farms near Missisquoi Bay, the Conservation Law Foundation has asked the state Environmental Court to step in. CLF’s Vermont chief Chris Kilian says the Missisquoi watershed is in “horrific” shape, and farm runoff is the primary culprit.

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