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The Frequency
5:23 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Essex Junction Pays Up In Settlement Over Wastewater Spills

The Essex Junction wastewater treatment plant was undergoing upgrates when workers accidentally released more than 1 million gallons of undisinfected water.
Taylor Dobbs VPR File Photo

The village of Essex Junction will have to pay $22,625 in fines related to multiple unauthorized wastewater dumps last year, the state says.

According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Essex Junction wastewater plant wrongly released 1,954,853 gallons of un-disinfected wastewater into the Winooski River last summer.

The releases happened over two days, according to the DEC news release.

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The Frequency
1:34 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Vermont Gas Ordered To Halt Digging Near VELCO Lines

The Vermont Public Service Board ordered Vermont Gas Systems to stop digging for its pipeline near power lines owned by the Vermont Electric Power Company, citing environmental and health concerns.

Vermont Gas approached the Public Service Board after the state Agency of Natural Resources alerted the company to the possibility that soil contaminated with Pentachlorophenol (PCP) could be disturbed by pipeline construction.

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Environment
9:42 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Vt. Small Farms Under Scrutiny For Pollution Runoff

If you have four horses, you have a small farm, says John Roberts of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. In an effort to reduce phosphorus pollution in Lake Champlain, the state is beginning to enforce runoff regulations on smaller scale operations.
Werner Stoffberg Thinkstock

The state of Vermont is working to reduce phosphorus pollution in the Lake Champlain watershed.

A lot of the focus has been on farms, and now the state is turning attention to smaller scale agriculture, and that means owners of much smaller parcels of land will also have to react to the regulations already on the books.

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VPR News
8:00 am
Sun July 27, 2014

Wild Parsnip Foes Attempt To Slow Its Spread

Wild Parsnip resembles Queen Anne's Lace, but it's yellowish and can burn the skin.
Charlotte Albright VPR

Beware the wild parsnip.

That’s a warning sprouting in emails around the state, as the invasive weed spreads. It looks like a little yellow umbrella atop a stem that can be as long as five feet tall. It won’t hurt to brush along it, but if you break the stem, and the sap on your skin is exposed to sunlight, you can get a nasty burn. Harry Roberts, of Norwich, is seeing more and more of this pesky weed as he motorcycles around the state.

“It’s a very sinister plant and it starts at the roadside and if you don’t mow the adjacent field it takes over the field,” he says.

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VPR News
6:06 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Seneca Kills Wind Project

Seneca Mountain Wind is stopping development of a project that would have placed about 20 turbines at a remote mountaintop site in the Northeast Kingdom. The company has withdrawn its electrical connection request with ISO New England and terminated land leases in Newark, Brighton and Ferdinand.

According to a press release late Friday afternoon, “SMW’s decision reflects its commitment to obtain community support before advancing this project, which was not evident in any of the three jurisdictions where SMW had development plans.”

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Environment
6:48 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Deerfield Wind Project Opponents Have Their Day In Court

An effort to stop construction of a 30 megawatt ridge-line wind development in the Green Mountain National Forest got a hearing Wednesday in Federal Court in Brattleboro. The 15-turbine Deerfield Wind project has been authorized by the U.S. Forest Service and permitted by the state. But opponents say the Forest Service approval process was flawed. And they argue that the installation would compromise a federally designated wilderness area near the site.

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Public Post
1:17 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Milfoil Pullers Wanted

Eurasian watermilfoil can get quickly out of control, as shown in this picture taken at Cayuga Lake in Ithaca, New York.
Robert L. Johnson Cornell University, Bugwood.org

The invasive water plant Eurasian watermilfoil has made its way into waterways around Vermont, and is nearly impossible to eradicate. At Dewey's Mills Pond, in Quechee, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the state of Vermont and the town of Hartford have been working together since 2003 to keep the invasive species at bay. This Saturday, the Hartford Parks & Recreation Department is hosting a volunteer day, to help in the effort.

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The Vermont Economy
6:27 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Newport Residents Question Developers Of Bio-Med Facility

Bill Kelly, representing AnC Bio, Joe Greene, architect, and Debra Bell, civil engineer, display drawings of a new facility proposed for Newport prior to a public hearing.
Charlotte Albright VPR

On Monday, the public got a chance to weigh in on a plan to build a four-story glass and metal tower in Newport that would house bio-medical research and development.

The developers, Bill Stenger and his business partner Ariel Quiros, say the project will create as many as 500 jobs and will not harm the environment. But some Newport residents have some concerns about its impact on public health.

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Vermont Edition
1:56 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Early Returns Encouraging On Yearly Loon Count

A lone loon relaxes on Curtis Pond in Calais.
Toby Talbot AP

For a while, the iconic laughing call of the loon was rare in Vermont waters, but the bird population has been rebounding in recent years.

Saturday was the annual loon watch: More than 200 volunteers spread out across the state to survey loons. Eric Hanson, a conservation biologist with the Vermont Center for Ecostudies and the coordinator of the Vermont Loon Conservation project, joined Vermont Edition to talk about how this reclusive bird is faring in Vermont waters.

On the results of Saturday's loon watch

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The Frequency
12:09 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Where Are Vermont’s Turkeys? Officials Seek Public Help In Survey

The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to conduct a turkey brood survey during the month of August, and officials are asking for help from Vermonters who see the birds around the state.

“Data gathered from the survey will help establish long-term trends in turkey reproductive success and recruitment,” said state turkey biologist Amy Alfieri. 

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