Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Vermont Environmental News, December 14, 2010

Vermont farm-to-school programs to get boost | The Burlington Free Press
A national program that encourages schools to work with farms to increase the amount of local food in cafeterias is getting some financial help. Vermont officials, who have taken a leadership role in the program, say it's unclear how much funding the state will get.

A bill passed by Congress last week includes $40 million for farm-to-school programs across the country.

Abbie Nelson, director of Vermont Food Education Every Day, says grants have been important tools for growing and starting the programs across the state. She estimates about 200 of the 320 schools in the state have some kind of a farm to school program.
Vt. green groups praise Shumlin appointments | Boston.com
Vermont environmental groups are praising Gov.-elect Peter Shumlin's picks for people to head up the Agency of Natural Resources and the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Paul Burns of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group says outgoing Secretary of State Deb Markowitz will face a steep learning curve as the incoming secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources. But Burns says she's a proven leader.

And he says Vermont Law School Professor David Mears, Shumlin's choice for commissioner of environmental conservation, has an outstanding record on environmental issues.
CLF Calls for Cleanup of Industrial Farm Pollution | Conservation Law Foundation
In a new report detailing the state’s failure to control industrial farm pollution, the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) today called for the immediate implementation of federal permits for water pollution from Vermont’s industrial farms.

The federal Clean Water Act requires pollution permits for discharges from industrial farms known as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), but in a report entitled “Failing our Waters, Failing our Farms,” CLF details how Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) has chosen to ignore that direction from Congress, a mandate from the Vermont Legislature and requests from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to launch the permitting program. The report also analyzes extensive public records from state agencies documenting illegal discharges of agricultural waste from factory farms and details the necessity for adequate pollution controls.
A solar show and tell | Bennington Banner
At least one open house this weekend did not revolve around holiday decorations, but instead focused on the small-scale residential production of solar power. Jesse and Isabelle Herbert of Pownal hosted the solar show and tell Sunday for those interested in learning more about solar power, ostensibly on a day when there was little to be had.