Environment

VTDigger publishes stories about Vermont environmental issues, including water quality, toxic waste, climate change and biodiversity. John Herrick covers the environment for VTDigger. He can be reached at [email protected]

House Fish & Wildlife sends out tough water quality bill

David Deen

Bill would put in place new pollution control measures for farms, existing development and roads, but includes fees and taxes that face opposition.

Climate change may have economic potential for Vermont

climate summit

Gov. Shumlin and some 400 Vermonters attended the summit, discussing how large-scale innovations can help the state reap economic benefits that may come with climate change.

Municipalities oppose water quality fees, request clean up money

Lake Champlain algae bloom

Towns are willing to pitch in to help clean up the state’s water bodies, but there must be some financial assistance.

Vermonters should be ‘All In’ on water quality

Tom Torti

Politicians, business representatives, farmers and tourism officials say cleaning up Lake Champlain and other water bodies is everyone’s concern.

Margolis: ‘Sincere effort’ to clean up Lake Champlain may not be enough to save it

Lake Champlain algae bloom

Even if the flow of phosphorus into Missisquoi Bay were reduced by 75 percent, the state “might see progress (in reversing growth of the Bay’s algae) in 10 years.” The plan before the Legislature now would not come close to reducing the phosphorus flow by 75 percent.

Students continue push for fossil fuel divestment

Eric Becker

The Vermont Pension Investment Committee has about $109 million invested in oil, gas and coal companies. A proposed bill would require divestment by 2020.

Lawmakers scrap administration’s water quality funding proposals

David Deen

The House Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources Committee bill is unlikely to include the fertilizer fee or another proposal by the administration to tax commercial stormwater runoff.

New Natural Resources Board chair sets vision, finds budget cuts

Jon Groveman

The incoming chief of the environmental permit agency is challenged to find $200,000 in savings without weakening Act 250.

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.

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