Friday, May 14, 2010

Vermont Environmental News, May 14, 2010



St. Albans Walmart ruling may go to Vt. high court - WCAX.COM
The debate over plans to build a Walmart in St. Albans may be decided by the state's highest court. Environmental Court Judge Thomas Durkin has issued a ruling upholding his decision to allow construction of the store. That means the case will likely proceed to the Vermont Supreme Court.
Way to Go! Announces Prizes to Promote Transportation Alternatives | Vermont Daily News
Registration is now open for the seventh annual Way to Go! Commuter Challenge, which will take place May 17-21, 2010, say organizers. The event is aimed at encouraging the use of healthier, more earth-friendly transportation, and less expensive alternatives to driving alone.

Everyone who commits to walk, bike, telecommute, carpool, take the bus or use any alternative to driving solo will receive free giveaways and be entered in a drawing to win great prizes-iPods, a Neuton(r) battery-powered mower, Burton snowboards, overnight stays, restaurant gift certificates, yoga passes, spa treatments, bike tune-ups, golf and ski passes and more. Earl’s Cyclery and Fitness is the corporate sponsor for the Community Challenge, providing the top performing community with new bike racks. Online registration is fast and easy at http://www.waytogovt.org/registration2010.
VPR News: Current Use Legislation May Face Veto
In the last hours of the legislative session, lawmakers approved changes to a tax program that's designed to keep land in farming and forestry. The changes in the Current Use program are intended to put it on a solid financial footing. But the bill faces a possible veto from Governor Jim Douglas. He says it will result in major tax increases for landowners who withdraw their property.
VPR News: Effort To Protect Wildlife Corridors Launched
We're all familiar with the yellow deer or moose crossing signs that dot our highways. They're a reminder that in Vermont we share the landscape with our wild neighbors, the moose, bear, fox and other creatures that call this region home. Many of these animals need room to move, to find food and mates. But roads and development have fragmented the habitat networks that connect the Green Mountains, the Adirondacks and northern Canada. Scientists and environmental groups have launched a four-state effort to identify and protect key wildlife corridors. They're trying to get the public to look beyond the road signs and think about wildlife movement on a much bigger scale.
Burlington Housing Authority vows to fight for halfway house | The Burlington Free Press | Burlington, Vermont
The Burlington Housing Authority intends to contest the city's motion to reopen an Act 250 permit hearing about locating a 20-bed halfway house on Elmwood Avenue. "We firmly believe the city has no basis for an appeal," BHA Director Paul Dettman said. "They were not a party to the proceeding. They don't have standing to file a motion to amend the permit. We intend to file a counter-motion. Our attorneys are working on it."
Biomass plant proposed at former Pownal track - Bennington Banner
A Massachusetts company has signed a lease agreement with the owners of the former Green Mountain Race Track property, planning to construct a large biomass plant and wood pellet manufacturing facility.

Chic Paustian, of Southern Vermont Energy Park, the firm that owns the former track, said he believes the biomass plant will be a 29-megawatt facility and will have about 75 full-time employees, in addition to the hundreds of jobs generated during the facility’s construction.
VPR News: Volunteers On Lookout For Frogs And Toads
Whether you live in a city or a small town, a rite of spring is probably happening in a patch of woods down the road or around the corner from where you live. Frogs and toads and other amphibians are breeding and laying their eggs. Most of the action is happening in places that might normally be overlooked. But as part of a collaboration with Northeast public radio stations, Susan Sharon reports that citizen scientist volunteers are on the lookout for them.