Environment

Shumlin administration, task force make climate change mitigation recommendations

Waitsfield's Great Eddy Covered Bridge was one of many damaged during Tropical Storm Irene. VTDigger file photo

The authors of the report say they want to to eliminate “administrative obstacles” from FEMA that make it difficult for communities to adequately prepare for future storm events.

Leach Farms fined for dumping manure in Bogue Brook in Enosburg Falls

A dairy farm in Enosburg Falls agreed to pay a $40,000 civil penalty on Thursday for rinsing farm equipment in the Bogue Brook, which is a violation of the state’s water quality standards, state officials say.

EPA: State must reduce phosphorus pollution in Lake Champlain by 36 percent

A shot of algae-free waters of St. Albans Bay off Gould Susslin’s dock. Right: A 2006 blue-green algae bloom off the same dock. Photos courtesy of Gould Susslin

Even if the state’s plan were fully implemented, projected phosphorus levels in South Lake A and B and Missisquoi Bay would still exceed phosphorus limits set by the EPA. These are sections of the lake where phosphorus levels already must be cut by more than 50 percent to meet the federal requirements, according to the EPA.

State rejects petition for new agricultural regulations

Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

Manure and fertilizer runoff from farms is the leading cause of phosphorus pollution in Lake Champlain, but the state doesn’t yet have the resources to help farmers comply with new water quality regs.

Trash counted on the shores of Lake Champlain

Rachael Miller, co-founder and executive director of the Rozalia Project, picked up bits of marine trash at North Beach in Burlington. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

The nonprofit Rozalia Project has been keeping a tally of shoreline trash since 2009. In a report released this month, the organization estimates there could be up to 7 billion pieces of marine debris weighing 51.5 tons in total along the lake’s edge.

Administration suggests fees to fund Lake Champlain cleanup

Clean water

Governor proposes $100-$400 fee on development and a 1 percent increase in the state excise tax on fertilizer sales to raise money to improve water quality.

Waterbury Dam changes won’t increase flooding, state officials say

The Waterbury Reservoir’s many swimming and boating possibilities drew 42,000 people this summer to the state park. Photo by Gordon Miller/Stowe Reporter

A proposed change in management of the Waterbury Dam is prompting some local concerns over flood safety. State officials want to maintain a consistent level year-round, instead of lowering water levels every winter.

State proposes stabilizing Waterbury Reservoir

Little River State Park on Waterbury Reservoir. Photo from Vermont State Parks' website.

The state plans to change its management of Waterbury Reservoir. Until now, water levels have been lowered every winter; the new plan is to maintain consistent levels year-round to enhance water quality, wildlife habitat and recreation.

State sues Moretown Landfill over lingering violations

The Moretown Landfill entrance. Photo by Audrey Clark

State says Florida owners of the facility have not eliminated odor and groundwater issues since the landfill was shut down in 2013, and is now seeking penalties.

Congressional delegation reacts to latest climate change study

Percent change in emssions

Sanders says the report, which asserts that “human influence on the climate system is clear,” is the strongest case yet for decisive action to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Milne outlines Lake Champlain cleanup plan

Scott Milne. Photo by Anne Galloway

Scott Milne wants to shift $7 million per year from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board to pay for cleanup of Lake Champlain. Administration officials say much of that money is spent on projects that improve the Lake’s quality by reducing nutrient runoff from farms.

Graniteville landowners oppose two Rock of Ages plants

Rock crushing operations near Rock of Ages in Barre Town. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

Two relatively new facilities at Rock of Ages have sparked complaints about noise, dust, and odors. A company attorney says there’s no evidence of medical harm; but some neighbors are pursuing appeals of the plant’s operating permits.

Lawmakers to revisit fossil fuel divestment

Sen. Anthony Pollina, file photo by Josh Larkin.

In 2014, a bid to divest state retirement funds from fossil fuel industries failed in the legislature. Activists plan a new push in the new year, and one state senator promises to reintroduce divestment legislation. State Treasurer Beth Pearce opposes the move, saying she prefers to have “a seat at the table” with the industry.

A call for action on Vermont endangered species

Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, gave the keynote address at the a symposium to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act at the ECHO Center in Burlington on Thursday. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

At a forum celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, experts said that some progress has been made, but new threats must be addressed. Chief among them are climate change and forest fragmentation.

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