Monday, May 10, 2010

Vermont Environmental News, May 10, 2010

Omya gets full waste permit: Rutland Herald Online
The state Agency of Natural Resources on Friday issued a solid waste permit to Omya Inc. that allows the company to dispose of its calcium carbonate waste. The full certification allows Omya to dispose of its marble tailings in a lined "tailings management area" on its Florence property. The state issued a draft certification in December. With full certification in hand, Omya will build a disposal facility that includes an engineered plastic geomembrane liner and leachate collection system placed over the existing tailings material. The system will collect any water and recycle it back into the plant through a dewatering process.
Vermont’s Green Front : The Green Mountain State Is Having Trouble Living Up to Its Image (By Brian Colleran)
Vermont is nationally regarded as a place of long bloodlines, socialist Senators, working landscapes, eco-conscious businesses and vast tracts of forest. This woodsy, roll-up-the-sleeves image of the state’s environment, politics and economy is a major part of what constitutes the Vermont “brand,” attracting residents and businesses, and giving Vermont products that certain cachet.

Historically, the state’s been able to flaunt its progressive legislation, such as the ban on billboards in 1968 and Act 250 in 1970, which required that large land development projects must meet a set of criteria to prevent local municipalities and ecosystems from being overwhelmed by poorly executed projects. The Agricultural and Managed Forest Land Use Value Program (or Current Use Program), passed in 1978, helped protect working forests. Due to these programs, Vermont has, in general, managed to maintain its rural flavor and unique character. But some are arguing that the state needs to step up to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

According to Christopher Klyza, Stafford Professor of Public Policy, Political Science, and Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and co-author of The Story of Vermont (Middlebury), the state faces three major environmental challenges: a lack of reliable public transit options, a reticence regarding renewable energy and an inability to effectively regulate the many types of farmers in the state.
Vermont food scraps, compost and power source | Vtdigger.org
The Potential Food Scrap Generation Map illustrates the estimated food scraps generated by town. The information for this map came from a project to provide information to support statewide composting efforts and to help in determining the feasibility of building a methane digester at Vermont Technical College. Food scraps when added to manure in a digester can boost the amount of methane generated by 80 percent.
Do We Have Time and Resources for Renewable Energy? | Bill McKibbon | Big Think
As a first step, the government needs to put a tax on carbon dioxide emissions. Fossil fuel needs to pay the price for the damage it causes in the atmosphere.
Conference: Local Renewable Energy on a Smart Grid | Vermont Business Magazine
The 2010 Distributed Generation Northeast Conference, hosted by Renewable Energy Vermont (REV) brings together more than 200 business leaders, policy-makers, utilities and others committed to expanding Vermont's use of renewable, sustainable energy - and are looking at more efficient, cost effective ways to transmit that power to commercial and residential customers.

The conference is next Wednesday, May 19, in Manchester, Vermont. The conference agenda is available here.
In two Vermont towns, beaver dams spell trouble: Times Argus Online
In one Vermont town, the beavers are busy. In another, they're apparently not busy enough.

The result has been flooding, road damage and a jarring reminder that the best-built structures of beavers and man don't always mix well.

"I think we're going to see an increasing number of conflicts as the beaver population goes up and the human population goes up," said Kim Royar, a fur biologist for the state Department and Fish and Wildlife who said she's gotten 40 calls from people with beaver problems in the past five weeks.
Burlington councilors challenge proposed halfway house | The Burlington Free Press | Burlington, Vermont
Four city councilors will try tonight to persuade the full council to delay a proposed halfway house on Elmwood Avenue in the Old North End.

The 20-bed house, operated by the national nonprofit group Phoenix House, would be a controlled transition residence for individuals recovering from substance abuse. The building is owned by the Burlington Housing Authority, which would lease the house to the nonprofit group. Phoenix House runs a similar program in Brattleboro.The new facility has received a Burlington zoning permit and an Act 250 permit, the latter required because of the number of beds.