The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation has approved Vermont Railway’s application for a permit to discharge stormwater runoff into the LaPlatte River from its Transload Facility on Catamount Road in Shelburne.
The Nov. 21 ruling follows a public hearing held in Shelburne on Oct. 13, where more than 50 concerned citizens voiced their concerns and opposition to the permit. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued a 14-page summary to the 52 comments raised at the meeting as well as online.
The DEC addressed each comment individually, including the potential for an increased chloride load into the LaPlatte River, the threat to threatened and endangered species, the existing subsurface contamination originating from Harbour Industries, which is adjacent to the Vermont Railway site, and many other environmental concerns.
In each instance, the DEC cited studies that showed that Vermont Railway’s application for the Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) was within the proper parameters required by the DEC or noted that all monitoring will need to be conducted according to federal law and subject to enforcement. The DEC rejected that water testing needed be conducted by an independent third party.
In addition, the question was raised if the right organization applied for the permit—Barrett Trucking or Vermont Railway —and whether Barrett Trucking would need an Act 250 permit (Act 250 is Vermont’s land use and development control law) if indeed they would be operating the facility. The DEC stated that the Notice of Intent identified Vermont Railway as the proposed facility operator.
The only caveat in the DEC summary noted that, “The MSGP application did not identify, nor propose a Barrett Trucking facility or vehicle repair shop, and specifically stated in the application that vehicle washing would not be conducted at the facility.”
If there are any changes at the Transload Facility in that regard, the Railway would need to apply for MSGP coverage.
The Town can exercise its right to appeal the summary to the Environmental Court by Dec. 21.