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H.554

AN ACT RELATING TO THE CLASSIFICATION OF STATE WATERS

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  FINDINGS

The general assembly finds and declares that:

(1)  It is the settled policy of the state as set forth in section 1250 of this title to protect and enhance the existing quality, character, and usefulness of surface water and to seek over the long term to upgrade the quality of the surface waters of the state.

(2)  The adoption of any water management types within the classifications of state surface waters shall conform to the state water policy.

(3)  Procedures or rules adopted by the water resources panel of the natural resources board relating to the designation of water management types shall maximize public participation and public input in a manner consistent with the department of conservation’s 2001 Vermont watershed initiative guidelines for watershed planning.

(4)  Basin plans and water management type designations and redesignations proposed by the agency of natural resources shall include sufficient information and documentation to ensure transparency regarding agency decision-making.

(5)  The agency of natural resources is expected to and should strive to update all 17 basin plans for the state by the 2009 deadline authorized by this act.

Sec. 2.  10 V.S.A. § 1251a(c) is added to read:

(c)  The secretary of natural resources shall propose to the water resources panel of the board an implementation process for the antidegradation policy in the water quality standards of the state.   Upon submittal of the implementation process by the secretary, the panel shall promptly initiate rulemaking for adoption of an implementation process in the water quality standards of the state

Sec. 3.  10 V.S.A. § 1252(i) is added to read:

(i)  The board may adopt by rule water management types representing subcategories of water quality criteria for designated uses within the classes of waters set forth in subsection (a) of this section to achieve and maintain a level of quality that fully supports the attainable uses and water quality protection of all or any portion of a water body.  The designation or redesignation of a water body as a water management type by the board shall be done by rule according to chapter 25 of Title 3.

Sec. 4.  10 V.S.A. § 1253(d) is amended to read:

(d)  The board shall determine what degree of water quality and classification should be obtained and maintained for those waters not classified by it before 1981 following the procedures in sections 1254 and 1258 of this title.  Those waters shall be classified in the public interest.  The secretary shall revise all 17 basin plans by January 1, 2006 December 31, 2009, and update them every five years thereafter.  On or before January 1 15 of each year, the secretary shall report to the house committees on agriculture and natural resources and energy fish, wildlife and water resources and to the senate committees on agriculture and natural resources and energy regarding the progress made and difficulties encountered in revising basin plans.  By January 1, 1993, the secretary shall prepare an overall management plan to ensure that the water quality standards are met in all state waters.

Sec. 5.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage.

 



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us