Introduced by Representative Deen of Westminster
Subject: Conservation; groundwater; public trust; mapping
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to clarify that the groundwater resources of the state are held in public trust and to protect this resource by requiring the agency of natural resources to identify and map all groundwater resources in the state of Vermont by January 1, 2007, and to establish a study committee to make recommendations for additional measures that the state of Vermont should adopt to protect groundwater.
AN ACT RELATING TO GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 10 V.S.A. § 1390 is amended to read:
§ 1390. POLICY
It The groundwater resources
of the state of Vermont are a public trust, and it is the
policy of the state of Vermont that it shall protect its groundwater resources
to maintain high quality drinking water and shall manage its groundwater
resources to minimize the risks of groundwater quality deterioration by
limiting human activities that present unreasonable risks to the use
classifications of groundwater in the vicinities of such activities while
balancing the state’s groundwater policy with the need to maintain and promote
a healthy and prosperous agricultural community.
Sec. 2. 10 V.S.A. § 1392(a) is amended to read:
(a) The secretary shall develop a comprehensive groundwater management program to protect the quality of the groundwater resources by:
* * *
developing public information and education materials;
(9) cooperating with federal agencies in the development of programs for protecting the quality and quantity of the groundwater resources; and
(10) preparing a map of Vermont’s groundwater resources by January 1, 2007. The map shall be based upon the use, analysis, and interpretation of existing data related to Vermont’s groundwater resources. At a minimum, the map shall depict groundwater recharge potential, groundwater levels, groundwater availability, surficial material thickness, regional areas of concern for naturally-occurring contaminants, and classification of existing public water resources.
Sec. 3. STUDY OF GROUNDWATER REGULATION AND FUNDING
(a) A committee is established to examine potential regulatory programs to protect the public trust in groundwater resources, to analyze mechanisms for Vermont’s groundwater protection program, and to examine the connection between groundwater and surface water.
(b) The committee shall consist of the following members:
(1) the secretary of natural resources or his or her designee;
(2) the chair of the natural resources board or his or her designee;
(3) the secretary of agriculture, food and markets or his or her designee;
(4) two members each from the house committees on natural resources and energy and on fish, wildlife and water resources, and the senate committee on natural resources and energy as appointed respectively by the speaker of the house and the committee on committees; and
(5) a representative appointed by the governor from each of the following: the business community, municipalities, environmental organizations, and the general public.
(c) The committee may elect a chair and a vice chair and may hold public hearings. Legislative council shall provide professional and administrative support for the committee.
(d) All members of the committee shall serve on the committee for the duration of the study unless circumstances dictate a permanent replacement. Vacancies shall be appointed in the same manner as original appointments.
(e) The committee shall report its findings and recommendations to the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy and to the house committee on fish, wildlife and water resources by January 15, 2006.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street