Our Work

Important Opportunity to Help Protect Vermont’s Water Resources

January 2005

The Vermont Water Resources Board (WRB) has scheduled two public hearings on a petition filed by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) to reclassify the waters of the White River Basin. It is extremely important that individuals and organizations concerned about water quality attend these hearings and file written comments on the proposed rules that urges the WRB to reject some of ANR’s recommendations as insufficient to protect water quality in the White River Basin.

The hearings are scheduled for February 22nd – 3PM St. John’s Church, 15 Summer Street, Randolph & 7PM White River Junction.

Send your written comments to:

Kristina L. Bielenberg, Water Resources Board

National Life Records Center Building, Drawer 20, Montpelier, VT 05602

Email: kristina.bielenberg@state.vt.us

Click here for VNRC Legal Counsel Jon Groveman’s comments on the plan.

Click here for VNRC Staff Scientist Kim Kendall’s comments on the plan.

BACKGROUND:

The Clean Water Act requires that states manage water resources by delineating watersheds or basins and then develop levels of protection for surface waters through a basin planning process. These levels of protection are known as the classifications for the water resource.

The Vermont Water Resources Board is now accepting public comments on the Agency of Natural Resources’ proposal to reclassify the waters of the White River Basin. This is important because water classifications determine how the ANR manages – and protects – the state’s magnificent freshwater resources.

The proposed rules to classify waters in the White River Basin is the first of 17 watershed management plans that ANR will implement through the Vermont Water Quality Standards. This means that this public comment period provides a critical opportunity for those concerned about the waters of Vermont – in the White River Basin and beyond – to call for a thoughtful, reasoned, and strong strategy to protect and enhance one of Vermont’s most important natural resources.



As currently written, the proposed rules fail to sufficiently safeguard the water quality and quantity of the White River Basin. This undermines the state’s ability to provide safe and enjoyable waters for activities that underpin Vermont’s quality of life and economy, including swimming, boating, fishing, and access to clean, clear drinking water for people and wildlife.

To help protect the waters of the White River Basin, the WRB must hear from you! Ask the WRB to ensure that the proposed rule:

  • Is based on scientific data. Although such data exists, the current draft plan fails to take into account vital scientific information in classifying many of the waters and, therefore, the rule is inherently flawed.
  • Protects the high quality waters of the White River basin. Failure to properly classify high quality waters as such opens up the potential for increased pollution and intensified withdrawals from water bottling operations.
  • Does not downgrade the classification of water to accommodate private interests, such as commercial water bottling operations. The ANR must embrace the opportunity – and their responsibility – to improve and enhance the quality, character, and usefulness of the state’s water resources.

Under state law, the basin plan must be approved by the WRB before being adopted into the Vermont Water Quality Standards. The WRB has scheduled two public hearings on ANR’s petition. The public has a crucial opportunity to let the WRB know that ANR’s petition is not sufficient to protect the waters of the White River Basin. Make your voice heard by attending a hearing or submitting written comments.