In 2018, VNRC led a coalition of advocates for H.554, a bill addressing dam safety and drinking water protection. H.554 requires the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to maintain an inventory of all known dams in Vermont (there are 820, 696 of which are under DEC jurisdiction) and inspect them under DEC jurisdiction on a regular, risk-based schedule.
The bill benefits public safety by requiring inspection, and if needed, maintenance or removal of dams that have been largely ignored.
VNRC worked closely, and persistently, with key legislators on language and testimony to help push H.554 to passage. It took multiple bills in multiple sessions to get the final version through, not to mention close work with DEC on compromise language.
In a further victory, the passage of H.554 saw the culmination of over a decade of VNRC advocacy for the testing of new wells for certain toxic pollutants. The bill includes a requirement to test new wells, driven by the urgency of finding the toxic substance PFOA in Bennington wells. This drinking water protection provision was originally passed as part of S.103, a toxic regulation bill VNRC supported, but vetoed by Governor Phil Scott earlier in the 2017-18 Legislative session.