Thursday, May 31, 2012

Vermont Environmental and Land Use Law, May 31, 2012

 photo by Jon Sullivan

Developer drops wind project near Canadian border in Derby, Burlington Free Press
A developer is pulling the plug on a proposal to build two wind turbines on farms near the Canadian border in this Northeast Kingdom town.

Chad Farrell of Encore Redevelopment says he's withdrawn his plan near the Canadian border because of mounting costs and an international dispute over his proposal.

The Caledonian-Record ( ) reported that Farrell said he he'll try to come back next year with a proposal for a one-turbine project.

Farrell unveiled his proposal last summer with cautious optimism because of initial community support.

But opposition mounted in both Vermont and across the border in the Canadian town of Stanstead, where residents have sought to intervene in the process.
Vt. town commits water to biomass project, WCAX
The town selectboard in Springfield, Vt., has voted for an agreement to commit 30,000 of gallons of municipal water a day to a proposed biomass project.

Developers are hopeful they also will capture rainfall and acquire water from other sources so as not to dip into the town supply as much.

Town Manager Robert Forguites tells the Eagle Times ( the original application called for a greater water need, but switching to an air-cooling system has caused that figure to drop.

The Vermont Public Service Board is not expected to make a decision on the project for at least a year.

Advocates say it will create jobs and bring economic development. But the North Springfield Action group is gathering petition signatures against it. It's concerned about the water sources.
Guidebook to help towns manage groundwater now available on-line,
The Vermont Natural Resources Council recently made available on its website a guidebook designed to help cities and towns in Vermont understand the options they have for managing and protecting their groundwater.

The book, Municipal Planning for Groundwater Protection: Act 199 and Local options for Groundwater Management, is free and can be quickly downloaded from the VNRC website,

This guide is designed for municipal officials, citizens and anyone else interested in the management of groundwater at the local level in Vermont. It contains:

An overview of groundwater and its properties; a summary of relevant state law relating to groundwater; new ways that municipalities may protect groundwater, and draft groundwater management language for town plans and bylaws for local officials to consider.

This guidebook explains critical elements of Act 199 of 2008. That law created, among other things, new ways for municipalities to protect groundwater. For instance, large groundwater withdrawals must now comply with town and regional plans, and the public has an opportunity to weigh in on a new state permitting process for large withdrawal projects.
Property owner to pay $6,000 wetlands penalty, Burlington Free Press
A Vermont property owner has agreed to pay the state a $6,000 penalty to settle wetlands violations.

State investigators say Pamela Malone constructed a driveway through a wetland and approved clearing, grading, dredging and filling activities on the land, which is slightly less than an acre. A small pond was created on the property, which is in Barre.
Sugarbush gets award for stream cleanup, Burlington Free Press
Sugarbush resort has won a Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence for its work to restore nearby waterways.

Sugarbush hired an environmental consulting firm to develop a long-term water quality plan for the resort, and the results have been successful.

Last year the state Agency of Natural Resources was able to remove nearby Rice Brook from the state’s list of impaired waterways.

Rice Brook is the third brook Sugarbush has restored to high-water quality conditions. Chase and Slide Brook were also restored to meet Vermont’s water quality standards.

Key to the cleanup efforts have been new storm water runoff controls installed at the resort.