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Vermont Enters Into Agreement In Principle Concerning Composting At The Intervale

CONTACT: William H. Sorrell, Attorney General, (802) 828-0269

October 10, 2008 - The State, the Intervale Center and the Chittenden Solid Waste District have reached an agreement in principle that provides accountability for past environmental violations at the Intervale Composting Products facility while allowing the Solid Waste District to operate the facility for a transitional period of time and protecting important Native American resources at the Intervale.

Under the agreement, the Intervale Center will admit constructing two lagoons, three ponds and a ditch at the Intervale Compost facility without regulatory approval, in violation of the state solid waste management laws, regulations and the solid waste certification for the facility. The agreement provides for payments totaling $50,000 to be made, in lieu of civil penalties, to an archeological fund to help monitor potential impacts and preserve Native American archeological resources on the Intervale property. It also provides for continuation of composting on the property by the Solid Waste District for a period of time to facilitate a transition by the District to an alternative site or sites to serve the composting needs of residences and businesses in Chittenden County. The District agrees to run the operation in compliance with regulatory requirements and procedures designed to protect Native American resources at the site. The agreement calls for the filing of an enforcement action and consent decree formalizing the agreement in Washington Superior Court. "This is a true win for the public. The current composting operation will continue at the Intervale to allow the Solid Waste District time to find and move to a better site to meet the needs of the County. Our environmental protection concerns are addressed and we will have a fund to help avoid future damage to sensitive Native American resources in the Intervale," said Attorney General William H. Sorrell.

Peter F. Young, Jr., Chair of the Land Panel of the Natural Resources Board stated: "The Land Use Panel is pleased that this matter has been resolved an orderly fashion. For the Panel, this case has always presented the challenge of achieving a constructive balance of the positive aspects of composting against the need to safeguard the important resources – in this case, water quality and archeologically sensitive sites - that Act 250 is designed to protect. We commend the combined efforts of the Attorney General’s Office, the Agency of Natural Resources, and the Division of Historic Preservation, as well as the Solid Waste District and Intervale Center, in achieving this result."

"This is good news for the future of composting in Vermont,” said Agency of Natural Resources Secretary George Crombie. “The Agency, Natural Resources Board, Historic Preservation, the Composting Association of Vermont, and other interested persons have been working collaboratively to expand opportunities for composting in a manner that protects and is in harmony with the environment and other resources."

The Intervale Center has agreed to limit the location where any future operation may occur on the property to an area where the surface is hardened and therefore less vulnerable to affecting Native American resources. The Intervale Center also agrees to determine in advance whether Act 250 applies to any future composting operation. Under the agreement, farmers on the Intervale lands reserve the right to undertake small-scale composting to serve their own farming operations.

The state agencies and offices involved in this matter are the Agency of Natural Resources, the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and the Natural Resources Board.

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