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Environmental Protection Division

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Environmental Protection

The Environmental Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office litigates environmental cases of statewide importance. The Office files civil and criminal actions to enforce Vermont’s environmental laws, defends the State of Vermont and its agencies when they are sued over environmental matters and handles appeals of decisions from the Environmental Court and the Superior Courts involving environmental issues. The Attorney General’s Office also provides legal advice and counsel to the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Vermont Natural Resources Board and other State agencies on environmental matters. Examples of past and current litigation handled by the Environmental Protection Division include:

  • Defending Vermont's greenhouse gas vehicle emissions regulation in Federal District Court;
  • Resolving multi-state litigation against major Midwest coal-burning power producer with air emissions limitations;
  • Defending state statutes regulating the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant;
  • Settling enforcement actions with civil penalties for hazardous waste, storm water, Act 250, and heavy cut timber violations;
  • Prosecuting criminal actions for releases of hazardous waste and for submission of false reports concerning public water supply tests;
  • Representing the State before the Vermont Supreme Court on environmental appeals.

The Environmental Protection Division is currently staffed by seven attorneys, who appear in state and federal courts. The Division also has a part-time investigator and a Paralegal who is responsible for providing administrative support to attorneys, and maintaining written and electronic records. In cooperation with the Vermont Law School and other law schools, the Division hosts legal interns who have an interest in environmental law.

Proposed Settlements of Civil Environmental Enforcement Cases

To facilitate possible public participation in proposed settlements of civil environmental enforcement cases filed by the Attorney General's Office, the Division posts notice of such proposed settlement agreements at the time of filing the proposed settlements with the Court. The postings are on the Division website (below) and include a link to the proposed settlement pleadings. To further facilitate possible public participation, the Division also requests in its filings that the Court hold the proposed settlement for 21 days before considering and acting on the submitted settlement. Potential public participation is pursuant to Vermont Rule of Civil Procedure 24 regarding intervention.

Pending proposed civil enforcement settlements:

Environmental Protection Links

The Office of the Vermont Attorney General enforces environmental laws along with other state and federal agencies, including:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Region One
Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
Vermont Natural Resources Board
Department of Labor and Industry
Department of Housing and Community Affairs
Department of Health

Environmental Emergencies

Dial 911 in a life-threatening emergency

Emergency Hazardous Materials Spills Reporting

802-241-3888 7:45 am-4:30 pm weekdays, ANR Waste Management Division
1-800-641-5005 24-hour, State Police Dispatch

Water Systems Security Breach, First Response Assistance

1-800-823-6500 or 802-241-3400 7:45 am-4:30 pm weekdays, ANR Water Supply Division Dial 741-5311 then enter your number for 24-hour pager for ANR Water Supply Division

Reporting Suspected Violations of Environmental Laws

The Attorney General’s Office does not take referrals from individual citizens regarding suspected violations of environmental laws. If you would like to report a possible violation of Vermont’s environmental laws, please contact one or more of the following divisions:

Operation Game Thief to report possible fish and wildlife violations 1-800-75ALERT

Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Enforcement Division
802-241-3820

ANR’s Enforcement Division handles a wide variety of complaints including but not limited to: illegal transportation of hazardous waste, storage and disposal of solid and hazardous waste, illegal open burning of prohibited materials, wetlands violations, and various water quality complaints relating to permitted and non permitted discharges to State waters.

Permit Assistance

Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Environmental Assistance Division
802-241-4228

The Environmental Assistance Division of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources provides permit assistance through five regional and five satellite offices, and will assist applicants in identifying all necessary state permits or approvals for any given project.

  Website consulting provided by The National Association of Attorneys General.