Monday, July 15, 2013

Vermont Environmental and Land Use Law, July 15, 2013

Welch blasts House farm bill that splits off nutrition programs,
The U.S. House on Thursday passed its version of a farm bill, more than a year after the previous farm bill expired. But critics are warning that the bill, which was stripped of the nutrition programs and a dairy price stabilization measure, could be irreconcilable with the full version passed by the Senate.

Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., was one of the representatives who voiced strong opposition on the House floor prior to the bill’s passage, which he and all House Democrats, joined by 12 Republicans, voted against.

“This is not a farm bill. This is a leadership-designed train wreck,” said Welch. “We had a farm bill. It was bipartisan. It saved money. It provided farmers with more security. … It provided conservation, and it’s a way forward. But instead what we have is the result of a failure of the leadership.”
Brattleboro supportive of solar array on I-91, WCAX
The town of Brattleboro, Vt., is supporting a proposed solar array on land along Interstate 91.

Winstanley Enterprises plans to petition the Public Service Board next week for a Certificate of Public Good for the solar array, which could include up to 8,300 solar panels.

The Brattleboro Reformer reports comments from the town, including the conservation, energy and agriculture committees, are largely supportive.There's been some concern about the aesthetic impact of the project and the potential of sharing the land with future agricultural activities.

Town officials feel the project conforms with the town's goals to reduce carbon emissions in Brattleboro to 30% below 2010 levels by 2030 and to increase locally-generated electricity from renewable sources to 10% of Brattleboro's total electricity consumption by 2030.
Lawsuit seeks listing of Bicknell's thrush as endangered species, Burlington Free Press (pay site)
The long-fought battle for protection of Bicknell's thrush under the Endangered Species Act is not over yet.

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell on June 27 for failure to make a final decision on the rare songbird's fate.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has 60 days from the lawsuit filing date to respond.The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined in 2012 that Bicknell's thrush may qualify for protection under the act, but the Fish and Wildlife Service's final decision is two years overdue, according to Mollie Matteson, a conservation advocate at the center's Northeast office in Richmond.
Williston land deal on hold, Burlington Free Press (pay site)
Kate Meyer, 20, grew up on Partridge Hill Road, which borders a 55-acre parcel of undeveloped woodland and wetlands. The town of Williston is now considering this land as a possible location for a new public works facility.

Meyer is opposed to the facility being built there. “I remember being able to head out on the trails for hours,” Meyer said. “The development of the Oak Hill land is inconsistent with our town’s predetermined standards for what would make an acceptable site for this new facility, and that’s what has most of us so incredibly upset about the process.”

She’s referring to an outline created by the Williston Public Works Facility Committee in August of 2012. Their preliminary report indicated finding a site zoned for industrial use to avoid residential disturbance.

The current facility on 5.4 acres on James Brown Drive, purchased in 1975, is an industrial/commercial-zoned site along Vermont 2A. The newly considered location is an undeveloped agricultural/rural-zoned site along Oak Hill Road that borders Williston’s historic village.
Federal action taken against Irasburg dairy farm, Burlington Free Press (pay site)
The owner and manager of an Irasburg, Vt., farm have been cited for illegal drug residues in cattle sold for human food.

Lawson Farm owner Robert Lawson and the farm’s manager, George Lawson, may not purchase or sell animals for use as food unless they ensure that animals with illegal drug residues do not enter the food supply, according to a consent decree of permanent injunction filed by the Justice Department and U.S. Attorney’s Office for Vermont.

The decree also requires the Lawsons to keep written records to identify which animals have been medicated and to maintain a drug inventory, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday.

“The FDA continues to take strong enforcement actions against companies that put consumers’ health at risk,” said Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA’s acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “The actions we took are necessary to ensure that foods do not contain illegal residues of drugs and are safe for consumers.”
photo by ForestWander