Thursday, July 7, 2011

Vermont Environmental News, July 11, 2011

Photo by jurvetson on Flickr

On July 6th, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule that will significantly improve air quality by reducing power plant emissions that cross state lines. This rule will protect the health of millions of Americans by helping states reduce air pollution and meet the standards of the Clean Air Act.

EPA’s new rule, known as the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), requires 27 states to significantly improve air quality by reducing power plant emissions of sulfer dioxide and nitrogen oxides that cross state lines and contribute to ozone and fine particulate pollution in other states.

For the first time in many decades, there are fewer than one-thousand active dairy farms in Vermont.

But as VPR's Ross Sneyd reports, the amount of milk they produce is as high as ever. Dairy farms have been disappearing in Vermont since the 1940s when more than 11,000 small, family operations dotted the landscape.

In May, for the first time since sheep farming was dominant in the first half of the 19th century, the number dropped into the hundreds.

Shumlin Lobbies for Strict Greenhouse Gas Auto Rules, VPR
Governor Peter Shumlin wants the Obama administration to help California set tough greenhouse gas emission standards for cars and trucks. Federal officials are negotiating a single federal standard.

California is the only state in the country that has authority under the Clean Air Act to set its own standards. But states such as Vermont have adopted California's rules because they're tougher than federal regulations. That's why Governor Shumlin wrote to President Obama and California Jerry Brown today.
USDA Rural Development Grant of $110,215 for UVM, vermontbiz
USDA Rural Development funds will be used by UVM Extension to strengthen and build community and economic development within three locally based non-profit organizations: Newport Renaissance Corporation, Gilman Housing Trust and Northeast Kingdom Community Action. UVM Extension will work with these local non-profits in order to build the skills necessary to effectively and efficiently plan for and recruit new businesses, promote trade and tourism, and to evaluate the quality of housing available in the region. In the past these non-profits have hired consultants to conduct the proposed work which has not allowed these non-profits to retain these skills year after year.

“This investment by USDA that provides technical assistance to established organizations in the Northeast Kingdom, is further evidence of the confidence we have in the continued growth and development of this region” stated Molly Lambert, State Director USDA Rural Development. “We are privileged to support this tremendous project."
No Criminal Charges Against Vt. Yankee Owners, WCAX
Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell isn't mincing words about Entergy's role following an investigation into a tritium leak at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon.

"In this matter as it relates to underground piping carrying radioactive materials, the company was misleading and not trustworthy," said Sorrell, D-Vermont.
Sorrell's remarks come 18 months after his office launched a criminal investigation into the company. The question for the AG was whether Entergy broke the law and lied to lawmakers about the existence of underground pipes carrying radioactive material. The problem for the AG was differing definitions about what "underground" means and whether below grade counts. Sorrell says the state couldn't pull together enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. On Wednesday, he announced that no current or former employees would be charged.