Office of the Vermont Attorney General

Vermont’s Working Forests and Water Quality

Vermont’s Working Forests and Water Quality

The Environmental Protection Division works closely with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR) to ensure that the state’s forest conservation and water quality laws are followed in logging operations. The Division accepts enforcement referrals from FPR and the Agency of Natural Resources Enforcement Division for alleged improper heavy cutting of forests under Chapter 83 of Title 10 of the Vermont Statutes Annotated and water quality violations related to logging activities under Chapter 47 of Title 10.

The Division also works with FPR and the Vermont Department of Taxes in court appeals related to the removal of land from the Vermont Use Value Appraisal (UVA) program [current use] (Chapter 124 of Title 32 of the Vermont Statutes Annotated). FPR inspects land enrolled in UVA to ensure that the state-approved forest management plan is carried out and complied with, and if it is not, files an adverse inspection report with the Department of Taxes. The Department of Taxes then removes the parcel from the UVA program. The Division represents FPR and the Department of Taxes in challenges to adverse inspection reports and resulting UVA removals.

Recent FPR forest management and water quality cases:

State of Vermont v. Westminster Meats, et al., No. 195-6-17 Wmcv (stipulated judgment of $86,250 against meat processing facility for wastewater treatment violations, including a discharge of animal wastewater into state waters). Press Release

$150,000 in civil penalties for heavy cutting of forest land in non-compliance with forest management plan (State v. Inkel, Dkt No. 593-8-09 Wncv)

$60,000 in civil penalties for violating Vermont’s water quality and heavy cut timber laws; Injunctive relief of compliance with a harvest plan for new logging activity and notice to state of new logging activity for three years. (State v. Riendeau, Dkt No. 635-10-13-Wncv).

Reversal of adverse trial court decision on compliance with a forest management plan; Vermont Supreme Court reinstated the adverse inspection report from Forests, Parks, and Recreation. (Plum Creek Maine Timberlands LLC v. Vermont Department of Taxes, 2016 VT 103)

Links to statutes and other information

Title 10, Chapter 83

Title 10, Chapter 47

Title 32, Chapter 124

To learn more about forest conservation:

http://www.vtfpr.org/regulate/for_forres_regs.cfm

To learn more about the Use Value Appraisal Program:

http://www.vtfpr.org/resource/for_forres_useapp.cfm
http://www.state.vt.us/tax/pvrcurrentuse.shtml