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]

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.

N.Y. senator pushes for federal ban on plastic microbeads

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., visited the west shore of Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh, New York, on Monday to push for a federal ban on microbeads. Gillibrand in May introduced the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, which ban cosmetics and cleaning products that contain tiny plastic scrubbing particles that slip through wastewater treatment plants and […]

Climate change contributes to bumblebee decline, study says

A bumblebee (Bombus perplexus) forages on a flowering joe-pye-weed in Vermont.  Photo by Leif Richardson/UVM

A study in the journal Science, co-written by a UVM researcher, says bumblebees refuse to move north when temperatures rise, causing them to suffer stress.

Two Burlington beaches closed by suspected algae blooms


Two popular Burlington swimming spots, North Beach and Leddy Beach, have been closed due to sightings of potentially toxic blue-green algae in Lake Champlain.

Shumlin signs onto Pan-American climate change effort

Gov. Peter Shumlin joined representatives from the Western Hemisphere in signing the Climate Action Statement at the Climate Summit of the Americas in Toronto on Thursday, according to a news release. The Climate Action Statement, which the release described as “the first ever Pan-American action statement on climate change,” recognizes a need for concerted and […]

Lake Champlain drinking water to be monitored for algae

Lake Champlain algae bloom

After toxic blue-green algae shut down Toledo’s water supply last year, Vermont officials are tracking toxins in source that serves 250,000 people.

Activist groups protest transport of fracked gas

Protesters block the tracks in Ticonderoga, New York, on Tuesday. Courtesy photo

Nine arrested Tuesday in a series of separate protests over hydraulic fracking and Vermont Gas’ pipeline extension.

Report shows no progress on Lake Champlain cleanup

The Lake Champlain basin as seen from Mount Philo. Photo courtesy Lake Champlain Basin Program

The report released last week finds that phosphorus levels in the lake since 1990 have continued to increase and, while small improvements have been made, they have yet to make a significant impact on the overall status of the lake.

Towns question the efficacy of new ‘pay as you go’ recycling plan

Stafford transfer station

Vermont’s new Universal Recycling Law, a radical rethinking of how solid waste is handled throughout the state, is expected to be particularly painful.

Pollina, VSEA express concerns over DEC workers’ move from Barre

Shumlin announces the appointment of Deb Markowitz as secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources

Eight workers in the Department of Environmental Conservation are to be transferred from Barre to Montpelier to meet budget cuts. Union, Washington County senator want more discussion.

Solid waste law a statewide ‘reboot’ in recycling, Markowitz says

Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources Deb Markowitz discusses changes in the state's solid waste law that go into effect on July 1. Photo by Sarah Olsen/VTDigger

Trash haulers must offer curbside recycling pickup beginning July 1 as law aimed at reducing the amount of waste brought to landfills rolls out.

State begins work on rules for new water quality law

Gov. Peter Shumlin signs H.35, the Legislature's water quality improvement bill, Tuesday at the Burlington waterfront. Photo by Sarah Olsen/VTDigger

Agriculture officials to define small farms, among other things, as they implement bill to address water pollution.

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