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


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)  During the process preceding adoption of revised basin plans for the state, the secretary of natural resources shall maximize public participation and public input in a manner consistent with the department of conservation’s 2004 Vermont watershed initiative guidelines for watershed planning.

(4)  Basin plans or 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 2010 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 for point source discharges to state waters an implementation process for the antidegradation policy of the water quality standards of the state and shall seek the concurrence of the water resources panel of the board prior to initiating rulemaking for adoption of an implementation process.

Sec. 3.  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, 2010, and update them every five years thereafter.  Prior to July 1, 2008, the secretary may adopt revised basin plans without including proposals for water management types in Class B waters to ensure that the strategies to improve and restore waters contained in the basin plans are available to the people of the state.  On or before January 1 15 of each year, the secretary shall report to the house committees on agriculture and natural resources and energy on fish, wildlife and water resources and to the senate committees on agriculture and on 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.


This act shall take effect upon passage.

Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont