VNRC Report: Rivers and Streams under threat, ANR failing on enforcement

March 10, 2008

Construction contractors and the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) are failing to keep Vermont’s surface waters free of polluting runoff from construction sites. An on-the-ground review by the Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC) in the summer of 2007 revealed that developers across Vermont who are constructing single family residences, residential subdivisions, and linear projects as well as commercial properties are routinely violating the federal Clean Water Act and that ANR is failing to bring enforcement actions for those violations. While ANR says it is placing more emphasis on cleaning up Lake Champlain, the results of VNRC’s review strongly suggest otherwise as much of the unchecked runoff is making its way into waterways that lead to Lake Champlain, and the violators are not being enforced upon. Contractors who are following the law are being unfairly economically punished for doing a good job.

Last summer, VNRC visited construction sites around the state. The evidence demonstrated that nearly every project was in violation of its construction stormwater permit; many of the violations were serious. And yet, since 1999, ANR has brought enforcement actions under this permit program only twice.

Enforcement discretion has been abused by ANR for far too long especially when massive efforts are underway to reduce the amount of sediment entering Lake Champlain via the Clean and Clear program. Click here to view the full report (1.8 MB, pdf format).