Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Vermont Environmental and Land Use Law, August 13, 2013

Vt. compost firm fights sales tax, WCAX
The head of the Vermont Compost Co. joined with organic farmers and a Vermont lawmaker to argue that his product should be exempt from the state's 6% sales tax.

Karl Hammer made the remarks at a news conference outside the state Tax Department on Monday before delivering a letter appealing a bill from the state for more than $115,000 in back sales taxes. The Tax Department cites a 2007 change in state law that it says compost is not exempt from the tax.

Those speaking at the news conference said other agriculture products are exempt, and that the effect of the rule is to support conventional agriculture while denying that support to organic farming.
Green Mountain Power and Entergy reach settlement over cooling tower collapses, vtdigger.org
Green Mountain Power and Entergy Corp. have agreed to a settlement of an undisclosed amount to cover costs incurred by GMP as a result of cooling tower collapses at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant in 2007 and 2008.

GMP and Central Vermont Public Service — the utility that has since merged with GMP to take over about 70 percent of Vermont’s power market — sought $6.6 million in compensation for increased power costs the utilities had to pay when the nuclear plant reduced its output during the cooling tower failures and repairs. Robert Dostis, spokesman for GMP, said the settlement was reached in the second week of June. Part of the agreement was to keep the specifics confidential.
Vt. utility helping 3 nonprofits go solar, WCAX
Vermont's largest electric utility is helping three nonprofit groups in the Rutland area go solar. The three organizations will receive $20,000 matching grants to help build solar projects that are part of a broader effort by Green Mountain Power to make Rutland the solar capital of New England.

GMP says the grant winners are the Vermont Farmer's Food Center on West Street, Rutland Regional Community Television on Scale Avenue in Howe Center, and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church on Hillside Road. A fourth grant is available but has not yet been given out.
Groups Petition the U.S. EPA to Amend Greenhouse Gas Reporting Requirements for the Oil and Gas Sector, JS Supra Law News
“EPA recently posted a March 19, 2013 petition for rulemaking by environmental groups seeking to amend the regulations governing the Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems source category (Subpart W) of EPA’s Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule (Mandatory Reporting Rule), 40 C.F.R. § 98.230 et seq. The petition seeks three changes to these regulations.”
Environmental Coalition Fights Deregulation of Industrial Dairy Farms in New York, Earth Justice
A coalition of environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for its deregulation of industrial dairy farms with 200–299 cows. DEC’s rulemaking has rolled back clean water protection standards to allow medium size dairy CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) to operate without a permit, in clear violation of both federal and state law, with the likely result that untreated cow manure will run off into and contaminate nearby waters.
photo by Kessner Photography