Judge finds state ANR excluded public from enforcement decisions

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A judge says the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources defeated the intent of the federal Clean Water Act by excluding the public from enforcement decisions.

But he says it’s up to the state Legislature to guarantee public participation, not him.

The action came as Environmental Court Judge Thomas Durkin rejected an appeal of a state settlement in a farm pollution case from Saint Albans. In it, Durkin dismissed an appeal stemming from the case of farmers David Montagne and Eugene Branon, who were fined two thousand dollars after liquid manure ran off one of their fields and into Lake Champlain, where fertilizer is blamed for causing algae blooms.

A neighbor appealed the fine as inadequate, citing a provision in federal law that says the state shall provide for public participation in the enforcement process.

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