Environment

VTDigger publishes stories about Vermont environmental issues, including water quality, toxic waste, climate change and biodiversity.

Missisquoi Bay farmers hit hard by new EPA phosphorus limits

Chuck Ross

Farmers in the Missisquoi Bay area will be expected to reduce their contribution to the lake’s phosphorus levels by 82.6 percent, according to figures from the EPA.

Rowley Fuels agrees to penalty for kerosene spill

Debris floats in a pool of flood water and kerosene alongside Rowe Field in Waterbury. VTD/Josh Larkin

Rowley Fuels agreed to pay $11,250 for a five-day cleanup in South Hero that involved demolition of a new bunkhouse, removal of 425 tons of contaminated soils and foundation to remove kerosene from the water.

Jay Peak fails to meet water quality targets in settlement with state, environmental group

Jay Peak Resort: An empty ski slope. Photo by Hilary Niles/VTDigger

Several streams near Jay Peak have not fully recovered in the past decade from water pollution caused by development runoff. The pollution is in part due to a wave of expansion at the ski resort that began in 2009.

Advocates skeptical of EPA pollution targets for Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain at Carry Bay in North Hero. Photo courtesy Lake Champlain Basin Program

“It relies on an enormous amount of assurances from the state, some of which they can’t really promise they can deliver at this point,” said James Ehlers, of Lake Champlain International.

Climate Change Economy Council seeks public input

Paul Costello

A new Vermont Climate Change Economy Council — composed of two-dozen business, public policy and environmental leaders — is aiming to simultaneously grow the local “green” job market and crop global warming. To do so, it’s about to tour the state to ask a question: Any ideas?

EPA releases new pollution limits for Lake Champlain

Chuck Ross, EPA

Stephen Perkins, a project manager at the EPA’s Boston office, said it could take 10 to 15 years for the new standards to impact the overall water quality of the lake. The EPA is taking public comments on the plan through Sept. 15.

Burlington officials knew soil was likely contaminated prior to ‘stockpiling’ in Leddy Park

Burlington brownfield soil that's contaminated with a variety of toxins, photographed before it was contained at Leddy Park. (Courtesy of http://wards4and7npa.blogspot.com/)

Soils the city moved from a waterfront brownfield and left exposed in Leddy Park were found to have various levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), lead, arsenic and total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH), tests now show.

Windsor residents oppose solar project proposed for prison

Graphic by Shawn Braley/Valley News

Green Mountain Power and groSolar’s proposed installation of 19,000 solar panels on 35 acres of state-owned land met with nearly unanimous opposition.

VT compost law seen helping poor

Hannaford employees Shylar Paye, left, and Drew Hill sort items to be donated to local food shelves in the warehouse of the Hannaford Supermarket in Bradford, Vt. Photo by Sarah Priestap/Valley News

“For 2016, we are predicting that our food will increase by 60 percent over 2015, in large part due to Act 148,” Vermont’s universal recycling law, according to Alex Bornstein, the chief operations officer of the Vermont Foodbank.

Public survey will help Burlington prioritize water quality projects

Megan Moir, stormwater program manager of the Burlington Public Works Department, speaks to residents in the South End on July 28, 2015.

“Oftentimes in public projects, it’s only about cost, cost and cost,” said Megan Moir, the city’s stormwater program manager. “But we would like to think that there may be other things that we would want to look at when we are prioritizing projects,” like adding more greenspace, improving neighborhoods and more.

Worry over toxins at South End brownfields shared by corporate interests

Nate Wildfire, the assistant director of the Community & Economic Development Office (CEDO), talks about brownfields on July 28, 2015 at SEABA. Stormwater planner Megan Moir is to his right. Photo by Jess Wisloski/VTDigger.

Three adjacent brownfields that face redevelopment are essentially protecting the 38-acre Superfund site Barge Canal. The liability for disturbing the site, which finished a remediation plan in 1983, rests on 23 companies and individuals.

Ruth Dwyer’s fines total $26,000 in zoning dispute

This screen on Ruth Dwyer's property is costing Dwyer $200 a day in fines from the Town of Thetford. Photo by Sarah Priestap/Valley News

The town of Thetford is fining the former gubernatorial candidate $200 a day for a barricade she erected to block her view of a neighbor’s home.

Middlebury pushes back against $55 million rail project

Vermont Secretary of Transportation Sue Minter attends a meeting on railroad track improvements in Middlebury. Photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDigger

The rail project would complete Vermont’s western rail corridor between Rutland and Burlington, but residents oppose the potential impact on the downtown area.

Montpelier cuts deal with railroad on weed control

Weed crop up on a railroad bridge in Montpelier. Photo by Sam Heller/VTDigger

The city would spend $10,000 to have a quarter-mile section of tracks cleared manually instead of by herbicide. City Council to vote on the agreement Wednesday.

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