A deal was struck late yesterday between the Vermont Natural Resources Board and Vermont Compost Company that will keep the Montpelier composter in business through 2010 without having to get an Act 250 permit. The agreement now needs to be approved by the Environmental Court.
The two parties just made the announcement ... Here's the full release:
NATURAL RESOURCES BOARD SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH VERMONT COMPOST
MONTPELIER – The Natural Resources Board and the Vermont Compost Company, Inc., have agreed to resolve two cases in Environmental Court. The parties have stipulated that the Environmental Court may place both Vermont Compost’s appeal of an Act 250 jurisdictional opinion and an enforcement action by the Board on hold, and the settlement allows Vermont Compost’s Montpelier facility to operate until July 2010 without an Act 250 permit; in return Vermont Compost will abide by certain operational restrictions.
“This is a win-win result,” said Peter F. Young, Jr, the Chair of the Natural Resources Board. “The agreement allows Vermont Compost’s Montpelier facility to continue to operate – which keeps a lot of food waste out of the landfill. And Vermont Compost has agreed to address concerns expressed by its Montpelier neighbors.”
The Legislature this year passed a temporary moratorium on Act 250 jurisdiction for composting facilities with solid waste permits from the Agency of Natural Resources. The law also requires the Agency to set up a committee to examine whether there are better ways to regulate composting, and to report recommendations to the Legislature by January 15, 2009. The moratorium runs until July 1, 2010, to allow time for implementation of regulatory changes. Under the agreement filed in Environmental Court, Vermont Compost will enjoy benefits similar to those granted by the moratorium in return for agreeing to reasonable restrictions on its operations.
“Today's settlement is a constructive, forward-looking solution that balances the state's mandate to protect Vermont's environment with its desire to promote composting," said Vermont Compost Company president Karl Hammer. “The agreement will enable the state and Vermont Compost to work together with farmers and composters, under the aegis of Act 130, to develop a set of clear and coherent rules that will help all composting operations operate safely, effectively and legally."
The agreement must be signed by the Environmental Court before it can take effect.