Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Vermont Environmental and Land Use Law, August 29, 2012

2nd meeting to be held on Vt. land use rule, WCAX
Vermont residents have another opportunity to weigh in on a proposed rule to regulate public activities on land owned by the state Fish & Wildlife Department.

The proposal would allow hunting and fishing on more than 133,000 acres. It prohibits snowmobiling, mountain biking and horseback riding except in designated corridors.

Officials say the proposal will give game wardens the authority to enforce the rule. The Fish and Wildlife Board has given preliminary approval to the proposal.

A hearing will be held Thursday at Kehoe Conservation Camp in Castleton at 6 p.m. A previous hearing was held Tuesday in Montpelier.

Solar furnace company seeks to build in Vt.,
A Minnesota renewable energy company is looking to help set up a solar-powered furnace business in Vermont.  The furnaces would be made in a 6,000 square-foot former mill building in Bellows Falls.

The Eagle-Times reports ( the company, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance, has agreed to provide its patented design of solar panels that create heat through a furnace through a Vermont company. The local company would be called RREAL Warm.
Federal Court Ruling Could Expose Vt. To More Air Pollution, VPR
 A Vermont environmental official says a recent federal court ruling could expose the state to more toxic air pollution.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has overturned an Environmental Protection Agency rule aimed at controlling air pollution in eastern parts of the country.

The decision was a setback for states like Vermont that are downwind from the industrial Midwest. Pollution from factories and coal plants can make the air unhealthy in other states.

David Mears is Vermont's environmental conservation commissioner. He says the Environmental Protection Agency rule was a good step to limit cross-border air pollution.

"If this does become a final ruling it means Vermont will continue to suffer the harm from this kind of air pollution which includes mercury," Mears says. "It includes nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, things that cause acid rain, also that are associated with particulate matter."  Mears says public health would improve significantly if particulate pollution were reduced.
US Forest Service proposes plans for parts of Vt., WCAX
The U.S. Forest Service is asking for public input for a project primarily in Dorset and Peru that would improve habitat diversity and forest health, restore eroded areas and improve public access opportunities in parts of Vermont's Green Mountain National Forest.

The Green Mountain National Forest staff is seeking public comments on its preliminary Environmental Assessment for the Dorset Peru Integrated Resource Project. The comment period is open 30 days.

The project would also restore stream function by adding large woody debris and replacing culverts, preserve heritage resources such as an old mill, furnace and kiln sites.

More than 2,000 acres of timber harvesting is proposed to support the local economy, enhance forest health and create more diverse wildlife habitat.
State regulator: Vt. Yankee needs more NRC review, WCAX
A top Vermont utility regulator says she's not satisfied with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's response to her concern that a string of small problems at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant may add up to something larger.

Elizabeth Miller, commissioner of the Department of Public Service, says she wrote to the NRC this week to ask whether it was time for the federal agency to step up inspections at the Vernon reactor, given a recent string of minor problems at the plant.

NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan says the agency believes the incidents were unrelated to one another, and that none of them crosses the threshold that warrants increased inspections by the agency.  But Miller says most of them had a common element - human error.
Sanders, EPA Tout Vermont Guard's Solar Project , VPR
Sen. Bernie Sanders and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency say the Vermont National Guard is a national model for what other military bases can do to cut their reliance on fossil fuels and become less dependent on foreign oil.

Sanders and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson toured a solar power installation Thursday at the Air Guard Base in South Burlington.

The project was completed in October of last year after Sanders, as chair of the Senate Green Jobs Subcommittee, helped to secure $8.5 million to build it. Today, the 1.45-megawatt project is one of the largest solar installations at any Guard base in the country.

Sanders says that, although the U.S. Defense Department is the leading consumer of energy in the world, Vermont's National Guard has taken the lead in embracing new, locally-produced technology.
photo by Putneypics