On June 17, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed into law legislation addressing polluted stormwater runoff. The legislation (H.35) gives the state government additional tools, resources, and the obligation to reduce polluted runoff from farm fields, roads, parking lots, and other developed areas. Specifically, H.35 enables the state to:
- help towns implement modern stormwater management systems that capture and treat runoff from roads, streets, and parking lots;
- direct significant new resources to keep livestock out of Vermont’s streams, seek more careful management of tilling practices and manure application, and reduce water pollution from farming and logging operations;
- redouble efforts to enforce water quality regulations in the Lake Champlain Basin and throughout Vermont; and
- hold farmers accountable for implementing best-management practices by denying tax benefits if they do not comply.
Vermont’s Clean Water Initiative, as supported by H.35, is funded with a combination of increased federal dollars, money from the state’s capital budget, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and a dedicated state Clean Water Fund established by the new law. The Clean Water Fund will be comprised of a 0.2% surcharge on the property transfer tax, which is expected to raise $5.3 million in fiscal year 2016, as well as federal and private funding. Read more.
Additionally, on July 6, the Interagency Green Infrastructure Council ― formed in 2012 of Vermont’s Commerce and Community Development, Natural Resources, and Transportation agencies as well as the Department of Buildings and General Services ― submitted reports to the governor documenting their work to use and promote green stormwater infrastructure.