Environment

Toby Talbot / AP/file

Large scale wind projects are the most cost-effective way for utilities to meet proposed new renewable energy requirements now being considered by the Legislature, according to Statehouse testimony.

Lawmakers are looking to revamp the state law that promotes the development of renewable energy. A bill backed by the Shumlin Administration would establish what’s called a renewable portfolio standard  – a legal requirement that 55 percent of a utility’s power mix come from renewable sources by 2017.

Carolyn Box / AP

The Vermont House passed a bill Tuesday to ban microbeads in beauty products that have been found to cause harm to fish and other wildlife.

The House gave preliminary approval to H.4 with a unanimous voice vote. It was passed unanimously by the House Fish and Wildlife Committee on Friday.

The legislation, first brought to the attention of the House Fish and Wildlife Committee by Rep. Patti Komline, R-Dorset, has broad support across the political spectrum.

Angela Evancie / VPR

The deteriorating water quality in Lake Champlain has been a topic of ecological concern, litigation and spending in the last two decades. Much of the problem comes from phosphorous washing into the lake from its massive watershed and setting off blooms of toxic, filthy blue-green algae.

In a few years all Vermonters will be required to keep food waste out of landfills, but for some institutions that create a lot of food scraps, those requirements kick in a lot sooner. While some of that food waste will be composted, under a new pilot project some of it will be headed to anaerobic digesters that create energy, including the one at Vermont Technical College in Randolph.

Angela Evancie / VPR

Every winter, the Vermont Farm Show is a chance for farmers to check out new equipment and trade information about issues affecting them. One of the big topics this year: the impact of farms on the water quality of Lake Champlain.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Did you know most salts won't melt ice when the temperature is below 15 degrees Fahrenheit? Or that cracked corn is a good traction alternative to sand or kitty litter?

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

When Gov. Peter Shumlin made water pollution and cleaning Lake Champlain a major focus of his inaugural address earlier this month, officials in charge of preventing that pollution got a boost.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Environmentalists are giving Gov. Peter Shumlin early accolades for his proposal to reduce the amount of phosphorus running into Lake Champlain. But a prominent agriculture group says the plan to clean up the lake might end up hurting the farms that operate near it.

Sometime during the third week of January we mark the “turn of winter.” Days have been lengthening since the Winter Solstice, in December, but increasing sunlight doesn’t really dent Vermont’s cold for another month. Starting now we should experience a gradual rise in the normal mean temperature.

When the U.S. Senate begins its debate over the future of the Keystone XL Pipeline next week, it's likely that there will be a vigorous debate over an amendment proposed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Sanders says he's strongly opposed to the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline for economic and environmental reasons. The project is designed to ship oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada to refineries along the Gulf coast in eastern Texas.

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