(Host) The Vermont House advanced legislation Tuesday that would give citizens greater ability to participate in state environmental enforcement actions.
The bill calls on the Agency of Natural Resources to provide public notice of a proposed penalty against a polluter. Members of the public would have 30 days to comment on the proposed fine or other enforcement actions.
Supporters of the bill say it is designed to change the current practice, in which penalties are often negotiated privately between state officials and polluters, with little input from the public.
Louis Porter is with the Conservation Law Foundation, the group that’s been pushing for the legislation:
(Porter) "It would both put Vermont into compliance with federal law, and it would provide citizens of Vermont a chance to know about, comment on, and in a limited number of cases, ask a judge to allow them to participate in environmental enforcement actions."
(Host) Members of the public wishing to weigh in would have to show they had been harmed by the illegal pollution.