Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Vermont Environmental News, June 22, 2010

Neighbors press Vermont for study on impact of Cabot Creamery’s well water use | LA Times
Neighbors of Vermont cheese maker Cabot Creamery are pressing the state to study the impact of the plant’s well water use on the wells of adjoining landowners.

The Cabot facility withdraws more than 30 million gallons of water a year from three private wells, but the company found out in 2007 that it needed a state permit it never obtained because some of the water is used in drinking fountains and sinks.
Small Hydro Projects Move Forward | VPR News
Many of Vermont's villages and towns were built around water power, and many of the small dams that produced that power still exist. But despite the current demand for renewable energy, few of the old dams have been revived.

Critics have blamed the state Agency of Natural Resources for the holdup. Officials say that's beginning to change.
Potent alliance gives Vermont hunting reserve exemption from game rules | The Burlington Free Press
At Big Rack Ridge, elk native to the American West share feeding troughs and a fern-floored forest with Asian sika deer, European fallow deer and with moose and whitetail deer native to these hills.

It’s an unlikely mix of species, but perhaps not as unlikely as the political alliance forged last winter between animal lovers defending one resident of Big Rack Ridge — an orphan called Pete the Moose — and Doug Nelson, the man who owns the ridge and sells his clients the right to shoot captive elk for as much as $7,500 an animal.
Court Lifts Ban On Genetically Modified Seeds | LA Times
The Supreme Court Monday lifted a judge-imposed nationwide ban on genetically modified alfalfa Monday, handing a victory to Monsanto Co. in a long-running dispute over the seeds...

Some Democrats in Congress condemned the decision. "Once again, it appears the court is siding with big business, putting the interests of corporations ahead of hardworking Americans, specifically farmers, as well as the environment," said Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "Congress has worked for years to pass laws to protect the environment, and this decision is the latest in a line of Supreme Court decisions reducing the effectiveness of those protections."
Vermont Law School's environmental program still leads the nation | Vermont Business Magazine
Vermont Law School is proud to proclaim that its environmental law program has again been ranked as the best in the country by US News & World Report. It's the 13th time in the past 19 years that the school has won that designation; its environmental program was ranked second on the other six occasions.
McNeil plant qualifies for SPEED program, but how green is biomass? | The Burlington Free Press
Despite a recent well-publicized report questioning the virtues of woody biomass electricity, the Joseph C. McNeil Generating Station in Burlington, once the largest wood-fired facility in the world, recently qualified for a statewide renewable energy program.

The SPEED program, passed during the 2005 legislative session, promotes in-state renewable energy that benefits Vermont both environmentally and economically. Vermont hopes to generate 20 percent of the state’s load with Sustainably Priced Energy Development (SPEED) resources by 2010.