David Mears

Taylor Dobbs / VPR/file

David Mears, the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, announced his plans to leave state government Thursday. Mears said he plans to return to Vermont Law School, where he will teach environmental law.

“There was an opportunity to go back and teach at Vermont Law School and those opportunities don’t come along that often and I really enjoyed the chance I’d had previously to work with students, so the chance to do that was highly appealing to me,” Mears said in an interview.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

As the state prepares to set a new course for Lake Champlain cleanup, wastewater treatment plants across Vermont continue to dump millions of gallons of polluted water into Lake Champlain and other waterways.

Most of the plant operators responsible for the unauthorized releases aren’t penalized in any way.

“There’s no question that all of the sewage treatment plants in Vermont, at least in the Lake Champlain basin, are going to have to do more to reduce phosphorus levels,” said David Mears, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation.