Vermont Business Magazine On Monday, the Bennington Superior Court granted the State of Vermont’s motion to enter the Consent Order between the state and Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation. The Consent Order memorializes the settlement agreement between the state and Saint-Gobain for PFOA contamination in western portions of Bennington and North Bennington. Under the settlement, Saint-Gobain will fund municipal water line extensions costing an estimated $20 million and conduct an expedited investigation in the eastern portion of the Bennington site. Saint-Gobain bought Chemfab in 2000. In Bennington, the Chemfab plant produced Teflon-covered fabrics. The Teflon-coating process is considered the source of the PFOA.(link is external) “I am very pleased that the Court has entered Vermont’s settlement agreement with Saint-Gobain” said Governor Phil Scott. “We can now begin the real work of extending water lines to more than 200 residents of Bennington and North Bennington impacted or at risk of being impacted by PFOA. This is the result of many months of hard work by the Agency of Natural Resources and Attorney General’s Office working with state legislators and local officials – across multiple administrations – and the work is not done. The Attorney General and I will continue to push Saint-Gobain to address all residents affected by PFOA contamination. We will not stop until we have long-term drinking water solutions in place for everyone.”“This settlement is a first step,” said Attorney General TJ Donovan. “Work can begin this year to bring clean drinking water to many in Bennington and North Bennington. But the job isn’t done. Clean drinking water is a human right and my Office, with our state and community partners, is committed to fight until everyone gets the clean water they deserve.”The settlement addresses approximately one-half of the Bennington site, roughly to the west of Route 7A. Approximately 200 homes will be connected to a municipal water line, with others receiving a new well or long-term point-of-entry-treatment (POET) filters. Under the settlement, Saint-Gobain is responsible for providing clean drinking water to homes in this portion of the site until long-term sampling shows that PFOA is below the State’s standard of 20 parts per trillion (ppt). Saint-Gobain has also agreed to conduct an expedited investigation in the other half of the site, roughly east of Route 7A. The State is continuing negotiations with Saint-Gobain regarding the eastern portion of the site.The Consent Order was filed in late July and announced at a public meeting in Bennington that evening. A thirty-day public comment period followed the filing. At a status conference in Bennington Superior Court last week, the Court requested more information from the parties. The parties provided that the next day and the Court’s October 2, 2017 Order followed.Related Documents:Pleadings by Agreement (7/26/17)(link is external)Stipulation for Entry of Consent Order, with Consent Order (7/26/17)(link is external)Consent Order Appendices (7/26/17)(link is external)Letter regarding Public Comment Period (8/22/17)(link is external)Letter regarding Entry of Consent Order (8/29/17)(link is external)Motion for Entry of Consent Order (9/29/17)(link is external)Entry Order (10/2/17)(link is external)Consent Order Fact Sheet (7/26/17)(link is external)Consent Order FAQ (7/26/17)(link is external)Vermont AG: Oct 4, 2017
Earth Day 2016As persons around the globe observe Earth Day today, world leaders will be making history at the United Nations Head Office in New York as they recommit their pledge to fight against climate change.Over 100 countries will sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, representing their commitment to join it formally. The signing to the Paris Agreement commenced on Thursday and will run until April 22, 2017. President David Granger will be travelling to the United States this weekend to sign onto the agreement.US Ambassador to Guyana, Perry HollowayAccording to US Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway, this marks a turning point in the story of the planet and may even set a record for the largest number of signatories to an international agreement in a single day.He recalled last month, when US President Barack Obama announced along with China’s Head of State, President Xi Jinping that the two countries will sign the Paris Agreement on Earth Day and formally join this year.“We are confident other countries will do so too, with the intention of bringing this historic and ambitious Agreement into force as quickly as possible. A greener future is already in sight. Leaders of countries and cities are adapting and innovating away from fossil fuels and business owners are investing in a clean energy economy,” Ambassador Holloway noted.He said that the United States is moving forward in its commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2025, through the strongest fuel economy standards in its history, through its 20-fold increase in solar generation since 2009, and through proposed rules on everything from energy conservation standards for appliances to reduction in emissions of methane-rich gas from municipal solid waste landfills.According to the US Diplomat, while his home country is taking significant climate action domestically, it is also focused on international cooperation to address this global challenge. He referred to US’s $500M contribution last month to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) – the first tranche of the US$3 billion US pledge to the GCF – will help developing countries reduce carbon emissions and prepare for climate impacts, while also advancing its commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals – another major landmark agreement the world came together around last year.The Ambassador noted that the most successful environmental agreements of all time is the Montreal Protocol, which is phasing out ozone depleting substances globally. He said that this set the ozone layer on a path to recovery and prevented tens of millions of cases of skin cancer among other health, environmental, and economic benefits.Moreover, Holloway outlined that while Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – which replace many of the ozone-depleting substances – do not harm the ozone layer, they are greenhouse gases that in some cases can be thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide. To this end, he said the United States is working with partners to adopt an HFC phase-down amendment to the Montreal Protocol this year that could avoid half a degree Celsius of warming by the end of the century.Furthermore, the Ambassador underscored the need for international cooperation to change the way global transportation system. “The aviation sector represents two percent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions.The International Civil Aviation Organisation is aiming to achieve carbon neutral growth for international aviation by 2020. The United States is committed to reaching an agreement on a global market-based measure that will help move the airline sector toward this ambitious goal,” he stated.With the signing of the Paris Agreement, Ambassador Holloway recognised that Earth Day 2016 is truly a cause for hope and also a reminder of the shared global commitment to combat climate change. He urged that countries around the world seize the momentum from Paris to build a clean energy future for respective people and nations.