Monday, August 16, 2010

Vermont Environmental News, August 16, 2010

Auction offers pieces of country for conservation | Times Argus Online
For $275, you can bid to adopt a purebred ram from Fat Rooster Farm and help its owners for a day during lambing season.

For $1,375, you can bid on helping create habitat for the chestnut-sided warbler and spend a day birdwatching with an expert at Fred Pond.

If quaint New England is your thing, how about ponying up $13,750 to help preserve the Howe Covered Bridge, a 19th-century structure in Tunbridge? They’ll put up a plaque with your name on it if you do.

This is no ordinary sale: A Vermont conservation group is holding a “landscape auction” this weekend in which private landowners sell working landscape elements from the White River watershed in hopes of raising money, promoting sustainability and giving city folks a dose of country living.
Couple's religion, Vermont land-use ruling at odds | Times Argus Online
To Richard and Joan Downing, the 24-foot-tall cross on a hilltop on their property is an expression of their faith. To a state commission that regulates land use, it is out of character with the natural beauty of the rural neighborhood and should come down.

It’s a conflict that has cropped up around the country, pitting religious freedom enshrined in the Constitution’s First Amendment against the local zoning authority and state land-use control laws.
Vt., Quebec announce details of power deal | BusinessWeek
Vermont electric utilities and the provincial energy company Hydro-Quebec joined Thursday in signing a 26-year contract under which Vermont will buy enough Canadian hydropower for about 200,000 homes beginning in 2012.

The midday signing at an inn outside of Burlington marked a renewed effort by Quebec to increase power sales to the northeastern United States and a milestone in its efforts to get states in the region to recognize large-scale hydropower as renewable and eligible to fetch a higher price because it is low in carbon emissions.
Two Vermont communities consider small wood power plant | The Burlington Free Press
Two northeastern Vermont communities are considering joining forces to build a small wood powered electric generating plant.

The proposal by officials in the villages of Orleans and Barton would generate enough electricity for the customers of the municipal utilities in the two communities.

Orleans Supervisory John Morley III says the villages need a planning grant of $40,000 from the Vermont Community Development Program to examine whether a 6-megawatt power plant would reduce local electric rates.

Morley tells the Caledonian Record he began exploring the idea of a wood powered plant as a way of providing cheaper, renewable power to existing customers and attract new industry and businesses.
Vermont surveys for Asian longhorned beetle |
A team of experts surveying the woods in St. Albans did not find any Asian longhorned beetles, a pest that feeds on maples and other types of hardwoods.

The beetle, which feeds on all types of hardwoods, has decimated trees in Worcester, Mass., and is considered a threat to the rest of New England as well. Its preferred hosts is the maple tree, making it a big potential nuisance in Vermont, although it hasn't been found there yet.
Candidates see environment's role in Vt. economy |
The economy has been a central issue in the Vermont governor's race this year, but environmental advocates note that one of its underpinnings is the state's natural assets.

Elizabeth Courtney, executive director of the Vermont Natural Resources Council, says Vermont's rivers, lakes, mountains and pristine image are the foundation of its economy.
In Burlington, work starts Monday on barge canal |
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is resuming cleanup work Monday on a Superfund site in Burlington.

The work, which is aimed at remediating decades' worth of pollution, is set for the Pine Street Barge Canal, a 38-acre site that was added to the Superfund list in 1981.

The EPA says repairs will be made to an underwater cap that's aimed at stemming the spread of oil and tar residue into nearby wetlands and Lake Champlain. Work starting Monday will continue through late November.