Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Vermont Environmental & Land Use Law, July 21, 2011

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Federal Judge to Rule On Dean Foods Settlement, Burlington Free Press
A federal judge is considering whether to give final approval to a settlement that would require dairy processor Dean Foods co. to pay Northeast dairy farmers and their attorneys $30 million to settle antitrust allegations in a class-action lawsuit.
A hearing was held Monday to determine whether the settlement is "fair, reasonable and adequate." U.S. District Court Chief Judge Christina Reiss will take under advisement what the attorneys and a farmer said Monday and will rule later.

Reiss granted preliminary approval in May for the payment Dean has agreed to make to settle the lawsuit, which alleges Dean has strangled competition in the milk market in the Northeast, resulting in lower prices paid to dairy farmers. Dean does not admit wrongdoing.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs, which include two Vermont dairy farmers, have estimated that about 8,000 farmers will be entitled to a share of the settlement if it gets final approval. Dean spokeswoman Liliana Esposito said Monday that Dean Foods and the plaintiffs testified they believed the settlement was "fair and reasonable."
Judge Rebuffs Entergy in Effort to Obtain Order Keeping Vermont Yankee Open, Burlington Free Press
Vermont Yankee owner Entergy Corp. failed to win a guarantee that the Vernon nuclear power plant could remain open while its lawsuit against the state is pending.

U.S. District Court Judge J. Garvan Murtha issued a decision late Monday afternoon denying a preliminary injunction to Entergy. The company failed to prove it would suffer irreparable harm before the court case is decided, Murtha said.

“The appropriate course is to accelerate the trial and issue a timely final decision,” Murtha wrote in his ruling.

Entergy has filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s role in deciding whether the nuclear power plant may continue to operate after its license expires in March. The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted the plant a 20-year extension, but the state Senate voted last year against granting state approval for continued operation.
Burlington looks to Reduce Emissions, WCAX
The city of Burlington is planning a public meeting this week as it seeks citizens' involvement in a new effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At a session set for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Fletcher Free Library, city officials will unveil a 36-point plan designed to reduce the city's role as a contributor to climate change.

It's the next step in a process that began with a consultant hired by the city working with eight groups, taking more than 200 ideas for reducing emissions and distilling them down to three dozen.

City officials say some of the goals will take cooperation by citizens at large. Among those are reducing vehicle miles traveled, reducing or eliminating use of plastic bags and diverting organic material from the waste stream.
South Burlington Residents Get Their Final Say Before The Final Vote, WCAX
More than 150 South Burlington residents piled in for a public hearing put on by the City Council Monday night. Each resident got two minutes to speak about the interim zoning put in place in early June.

South Burlington resident Mike Simoneau said, "It is poor governing to react to the complaints of a few by creating a law that will create hardships for others."
Others argue the system in place needs updating, citing concerns of over development and its impact on septic, schools and roads.

Under interim rules the city has put a halt to any new housing developments for the next two years. The new rules also make city councilors part of the planning process serving as oversight along with the planning and zoning committee…

The city manager estimated Monday night South Burlington would lose up to $190,000 in revenue under the new rules. Councilors say residents have until Monday, July 25, to submit any final written thoughts which will be taken into consideration before the final vote on July 28.