Monday, August 9, 2010

Vermont Environmental News, August 9, 2010

Hydroelectric dams resurgent in Vermont | The Burlington Free Press
The tide might be turning for new hydropower development in Vermont, thanks to one company’s persistence and the rise of river-friendlier turbine technology.

Plainfield-based Blue Heron Hydro LLC applied last week for a federal license for two proposed power-plant sites, which would together generate about 3 megawatts, or enough electricity to power 3,000 typical Vermont homes.

The power-generating sites would be built on existing dams.
Middlebury College gets $1.7 million for research vessel | Times Argus Online
A National Science Foundation grant will bring more Middlebury College students onto Lake Champlain.

The college announced Thursday it would use $1.7 million of stimulus funding to replace the boat it has used for research on Lake Champlain. The college has used a 32-foot modified lobster boat, the Baldwin, since 1985. The yet to be named and unbuilt 45-foot replacement is expected to launch in 2012.

The college said the double-hulled catamaran will include scientific instruments and green technology wherever possible, including a biodiesel engine and possibly solar panels.
Carpooling down, even with green awareness up | The Burlington Free Press
Despite greater awareness about vehicle emissions and spikes in gasoline prices, Census figures show there are fewer people carpooling than there were 30 years ago.

State and local governments, grass-roots organizations and even the Defense Department are trying to do something about the decline.

Maine, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Vermont are among the states focusing on carpooling programs. Features include free Park and Ride lots, online ride-matching programs and iPhone applications.
Heating oil spilled off Towne Hill Road in Montpelier | Times Argus Online
Roughly 100 gallons of heating oil oozed from a Montpelier house into a roadside drainage ditch starting Tuesday, prompting a response from a state agency and the city fire department.

The No. 2 heating oil came from a tank in the basement of 28 Spring Hollow Lane, which is in a neighborhood below Towne Hill Road that is elevated above downtown Montpelier, abutting Sabin’s Pasture.

It appears the spill was the result of a mistake by a contractor working at the house where Alfred and Sheila Warburton live, according to a brief report in a Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) database.
Stimulus money moves Vermont roads miles ahead | The Burlington Free Press
A double-shot of federal stimulus money to repair the state’s highways and bridges — to the tune of $143 million — has fueled what is probably the most visible evidence that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is directly affecting Vermont.

The scale of upgrades and patchwork has precedent only in the aftermath of 1927’s catastrophic floods, which destroyed about 1,000 bridges in the state. After short but spirited debate, Vermonters swallowed their pride and agreed to accept $2.7 million in federal aid (about $33 million in today’s buying power).