Environmental Protection

The Environmental Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office litigates environmental cases of statewide importance. The Division 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 Division also provides legal advice and counsel on environmental matters to the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, the Vermont Natural Resources Board and other state agencies. Examples of past and current litigation handled by the Division include:

  • Defending Vermont's greenhouse gas vehicle emissions regulations in federal district court;
  • Defending the Vermont Agency of Natural Resource's decision to deny permit and close major landfill;
  • Seeking civil recovery and restoration for MTBE groundwater contamination;
  • Defending state statutes and regulatory authority regarding the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant;
  • Settling enforcement actions with civil penalties for hazardous waste, storm water, Act 250, water quality, and heavy cut timber violations;
  • Prosecuting criminal actions for releases of hazardous waste and for submission of false reports concerning public water supply tests; and
  • Representing the State before the Vermont Supreme Court on environmental appeals.
  • The Division is staffed by seven attorneys, who appear in state and federal courts, a part-time investigator and a paralegal. In cooperation with the Vermont Law School and other law schools, the Division hosts legal interns.

    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 these proposed settlement agreements at the time of filing with the Court. The postings are on the Division website (below) and include a link to the proposed settlement pleadings. To further facilitate public participation, the Division 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:

    State v. Nelson Farms, Inc. Orleans Superior Court, Dkt # 280-10-13 Oscv

    Complaint
    11-21-14 Cover Letter to Orleans Superior Court
    Stipulation for the Entry of Consent Order and Final Judgment
    (proposed) Consent Order and Final Judgment Order

    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
    Vermont Department of Labor
    Department of Housing and Community Development
    Vermont Department of Health

    Environmental Emergencies

    Dial 911 in a life-threatening emergency

    Emergency Hazardous Materials Spills Reporting

    802-828-1138 7:45 am-4:30 pm weekdays, ANR Waste Management Division After-Hours Emergency: 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

    After-Hour Emergency: 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:

    Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Enforcement Division 802-828-1254

    ANR’s Enforcement Division handles a 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.

    To report possible fish and wildlife violations, contact Operation Game Thief 1-800-75ALERT
    Act 250 Violations

    Permit Assistance

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

    The Environmental Assistance Division provides permit assistance through regional and satellite offices, and will assist applicants in identifying necessary state permits or approvals for any given project.

    Division Contact Information

    Office of Attorney General
    Environmental Protection Division
    109 State Street
    Montpelier, VT 05609-1001
    Tel.: (802) 828-3186

    Published: Jul 25, 2014