Under Vermont law, the Attorney General’s Office represents the state in environmental related appeals before the Vermont Supreme Court. The Environmental Protection Division — in cooperation with the AGO Solicitor General — handles civil environmental case appeals. The Division coordinates with state agencies or departments involved in the case. In recent years, the Environmental Protection Division and AGO generally have represented the State in a wide range of appellate matters involving topics of statewide importance:
- Wetlands delineation (Agency of Natural Resources v. Persons, 2013 VT 46) and classification (Lake Bomoseen Ass’n v. Vt. Water Resources Bd., 178 Vt. 375 (2005));
- Cleanup of petroleum contamination (Bradford Oil Co. v. Stonington Ins. Co., 190 Vt. 330 (2011)) and contamination from dry-cleaning activities (State v. Howe Cleaners, 2010 VT 70);
- Ridgeline wind-power projects (In re Appeals of ANR permits in Lowell Mountain Wind Project, 2014 VT 50);(In re Green Mountain Power Corp., 2012 VT. 69)
- Forest Management Plan and Current Use Tax Program (Plum Creek Maine Timberlands, LLC v. Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation and Vermont Department of Taxes, 2016 VT 103)
- Timber trespass (State v. Singer, 2006 VT 46);
- Stormwater discharges (In re Stormwater NPDES Petition, 2006 VT 91);
- Thermal discharges (In re Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee Discharge Permit, 2009 VT 124)
- Act 250 (In Re Waterfront Park, 2016 VT 39; In Re Treetop Development Co,, 2016 VT 20; In re Shendandoah LLC, 2011 VT 68; (Natural Resources Board v. Dorr, 2015 VT 1)
The Division, in cooperation with the AGO Solicitor General, also represents the State in a range of environmental law appeals in the federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court:Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007) (finding EPA has authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions); Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, 134 S.C.T. 2427 (2014) (Upholding EPA’s Authority to Regulate greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources that are regulated for other air pollutants).
The Division is currently helping defend the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan for regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from the electric power sector in the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and the proposed federal rule for the waters of the United States in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.