Declaring Groundwater a Public Trust

In 2008 VNRC urged lawmakers to formally declare groundwater — the source of drinking water for two-thirds of Vermonters — a public trust resource. At the time, despite the importance of Vermont’s groundwater, the state was one of the last in the nation without adequate safeguards in place to protect the resource from overconsumption and contamination.

Our work paid off when the Vermont Legislature passed Act 199, making groundwater a public trust resource and taking a significant step in protecting the water we depend on. The new law declared that Vermonters – not any private individual or corporation – own Vermont’s water. The Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) is entrusted with the stewardship of our groundwater, and is enabled to regulate it in a way that benefits all Vermonters.

After working tirelessly to help pass this legislation, VNRC created a guide that summarized what Act 199 means to municipalities. It clarifies the roles that private citizens, local officials, and state regulatory bodies must play in maintaining the quality and availability of current and future groundwater supplies, and helps towns understand how they can take action to manage their local groundwater resources.

Our Victories

Honey bee closeup on sunflower

Protecting Pollinators from Harmful Pesticides

Solar Panel on flooded field

Improving Flood Resilience

VCV's Executive Director, Lauren Hierl, speaks at the launch of the Make Big Oil Pay campaign in Burlington

Making Big Oil Pay

Solar panels and sun reflection under dramatic sky

Committing to 100% Renewable Electricity by 2035

Girl drinking water

Removing Lead Fixtures from Schools

State house in fall with people on lawn

Furthering Environmental Justice

Advancing the Global Warming Solutions Act

Removing Derelict Dams

Strengthening Act 250

VNRC has been very effective in creating change in this area.

Fighting PFAS and Toxic Contamination

Protecting the Land and Views at Exit 4

Guiding Municipalities to Implement Act 171

Forming and Supporting Energy Committees

Protecting the LaPlatte River Marsh Wetlands

Ensuring Clean Streams at Jay Peak

Promoting Statewide Dam Safety

Preserving Downtown Bennington

Convening the Forest Roundtable

Creating Statewide Precedent on Biomass Electricity

Protecting Black Bear Habitat at Parker’s Gore

Securing Clean Water Funding

Maintaining Current Use

Banning Billboards