Vermont Yankee Violating Fed. Water Quality Law, VT anti Degradation Policy and Vermont’s Open Meetings and Open Records Laws

I have selected information from – Fact Sheet: Preserving the Connecticut River because the amount of information is extensive. Click the link above or the web address below for the complete Fact Sheet. – VT4Evolution

From the Fact Sheet: The Connecticut River Watershed Council is a 1,000 member non-profit advocate for the 11,000 square- mile watershed of the Connecticut River emphasizing fisheries restoration, erosion prevention, land conservation, and water quality since 1952. For more information about our mission and to become a member, please visit

The Connecticut River is the largest river in New England, spanning 410 miles from its source at the Canadian border to Long Island Sound, and draining over 11,000 square miles in four states (VT, NH, MA, and CT).

Today, the Connecticut is designated an American Heritage River, one of only 14 so-designated rivers in the nation.

On March 30, 2006, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) issued a thermal variance to Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee, LLC’s (Vermont Yankee’s) existing permit. The variance authorized Vermont Yankee to increase the temperature of waste effluent discharged into the Connecticut River.

Why the Variance Violates Federal Water Quality Law

…approval of Vermont Yankee’s thermal variance violates (1) the Vermont Water Quality Standards mixing zone provision and (2) the state’s anti-degradation policy.

A mixing zone shall not extend more than 200 feet from the point of discharge.” 10 V.S.A. §1251(6)

The variance granted by ANR requires monitoring 1.4 miles downstream of the discharge, effectively establishing a mixing zone extending from the point of discharge to the monitoring station.

This 1.4- mile mixing zone is a violation of Vermont Water Quality Standards and essentially allows Vermont Yankee to use the river as an extension of its treatment system.

Anti-Degradation Policy: Under Vermont’s anti-degradation policy, the agency is required to perform a socioeconomic balancing analysis before allowing any degradation of Vermont ’s high quality waters. VWQS 1-03(C)(2)

ANR and Vermont Yankee both failed to do any socioeconomic analysis other than stating the economic benefit to the company…

ANR failed to balance its conclusions with any analysis of the socioeconomic benefits of maintaining the Connecticut River.

Why the Variance Violates Vermont’s Open Meetings and Open Records Laws

…ANR admits that the representative important species list used in the variance determination was adopted at the suggestion of the EAC.

The EAC has no representation from the public, its meetings are not open to the public; and

Records of its deliberations relative to this decision were not made available for review during the public comment period.

Vermont’s Open Meeting Law requires that meetings of a public body be open, that the public be given notice of the meeting, and that the public be allowed to attend and be heard. The Open Meeting Law applies to all state agencies and their instrumentalities, including subcommittees. 1 V.S.A. § 310 et seq.

complete fact sheet


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