[Your Comments?][Customer Survey Responses][Links to Other Web Sites]
[Publication Information][Reports by Middle School Students]
Customer Survey Responses
Agency permitting programs have included a "customer survey" with nearly every action (permit issuance or denial) since August, 1995. From the 343 responses, here are some findings:
97% of respondents found staff to be courteous and helpful
95% of respondents felt they were treated fairly by staff
70% believe the regulations and permitting requirements to be reasonable
69% rated their overall permitting experience above average or excellent
7% rated their experience as poor
Environment 1997 Publication Information
Environment 1997 is published by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, 103 South Main Street, Center Building, Waterbury, Vermont, 05671-0301.
This report was printed with vegetable-based process inks on unbleached paper made from 75% post-consumer waste. This report is available on the World Wide Web at http://www.state.vt.us/anr.
Both the report and this web site were designed by Page Designs, Inc., Winooski, Vermont. Printed by Offset House, Essex, Vermont.
Cover photo of Lake Champlain courtesy of Gary Hall.
Special thanks to Tim Scherbatskoy and Jennifer Bryan of the University of Vermont, James Sisler of Colorado State University, the National Park Service, and the Department of Tourism and Marketing for their contributions to this report.
This publication is available upon request in large print, braille, or audio cassette.
The Agency of Natural Resources is an equal opportunity agency and offers all persons the benefit of participating in each of its programs and competing in all areas of employment regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual preference, or other non-merit factors.
Links to Web and FTP Sites
Associated Industries of Vermont
Association of Vermont Recyclers
UVM Environmental Program
UVM School of Natural Resources
Vermont Land Trust
Vermont Law School, Environmental Law
Regional and National Links
Environment-WWW Virtual Library
Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide
Oceanography and Marine Biology
Pointers to Earth System Science
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region
Reports on Vermont's
by Middle School Students
Wildlife, Fish, Habitat
Many places, including Vermont, support a large variety of wildlife. So people can understand how well our species are surviving, better, people try to catalog and inventory as much of the plant and animal life as they can.
They have so far inventoried ninety percent of the bird species, less then sixty percent of the other vertebrates and below thirty of the invertebrates. In the plant category they inventoried seventy five percent of all the flowers, ferns, and confers and less then one percent of algae and fungus.
The Fish and Wild life Department are very important to us and our environment. They are dedicated to conserving species and their habitats when we, in Vermont, have about 29,881 species of plants and animals, together. This department is in charge of keeping the plant and animal population and habitat healthy and well balanced. They also try to maintain resources and plants that make up Vermont's environment. It is very important to many species that the wildlife habitat is protected, restored and enhanced.
When we decide what species to help improve and how it's going to effect another, we need to look at the big picture. Not only do we need to think about those other species but we need to think about what effect would it have on the public, and what are their needs? In 1990 UVM's surveys showed that in hunting alone we gain $112 million each year, just in little ol' Vermont. Not only that but£ an additional $120 million a year comes out of fishing! This money comes from gas, hotels, motel and camping as well as equipment. Another $50 million dollars come from not just tourist but Vermont love towards our wildlife, (binoculars, birdseed, film, wildlife related books, etc.)
It's said to be that Vermonters enjoy their wildlife habitat more then any other state's residents. The only state that is higher in participation in wild life activities, such as hiking, hunting, fishing, etc. is Alaska. Vermont's appearance seems to have improved in the last few years and, I think, if we all help in some way Vermont can be cleaner then it has been in a long time.
When most people think of Vermont, they would think of forests and snow, and abundant wildlife. But Vermont, like any other state, has to deal with waste. Vermont has fewer landfills then a decade ago, and must ship waste for treatment and disposal in other states. Soon, radioactive waste we don't have the facilities to deal with will be sent to Texas.
The most effective way to stop waste and pollution problems is pollution prevention, or source reduction. The easiest and most efficient way to deal with any problem is to prevent it from happening in the first place. It can be a simple process, such as using a sponge instead of a paper towel or as complicated as creating an industrial process that would eliminate the use of toxic, ozone depleting chemicals.
When we are not in a position to spend extra money disposing of and treating waste, we can at least be expected to reuse and recycle our wastes. Sometimes, spending extra money can be worth it to keep our environment clean. It has benefits for us too, such as carpools reduce exhaust fumes and pollution from gasoline and smog, and provides companionship, while changing a system from aerosols to an ozone safe one will improve quality of products, and increase income.
Water Supply and Quality
It's amazing what a small fraction of the world's water there is that we can live on. While only three percent of the earth's water is fresh water, only thirty percent of that water (one percent of the total) is available. The rest is in glaciers and ice caps. And when you take the amount of water available for Vermont, it's shocking that what seems like such a small amount of water can sustain a whole state. 632 million gallons are used daily to support our economy; commercial, industrial and agricultural: mining, and home use.
Not only do we need to preserve the quantity of fresh water available for our use, we need to preserve the quality of the water that remains available for our use and reuse. As water is used, it can become contaminated from human and animal waste, chemicals, and fertilizers. Because the quality of water declines each time it is used, there is a risk that it will become so contaminated that it will not be able to renew itself. I believe it's important not only to conserve the quantity of water, but to avoid contaminating the water with chemicals or wastes. It's important for people to make sure that their leach fields are constructed properly so that the contaminated water from the septic tank is slowly filtered through the soil.
Water conservation practices must be used to maintain the quality of the water. Domestic, agricultural, industrial, and commercial waste water (along with acid storm water) can contaminate the clean water we use every day, lowering the standards our health depends upon. We have to take care of our minuscule percent of the& earth's water that we are able to take care of. Many water conservation practices are small everyday things that make a big difference when done on a larger scale.
The quality of Vermont's water affects the quality of the many habitats and ecosystems. Conservation of water must balance between the well being of our water supply for human use, healthy habitats for animals, and a strong economy.
In Vermont, we are lucky enough to live where the air is cleaner than federal standards. In fact, pollutants are less than fifty percent of the federal standards in all areas.
A federal act called the Clean Air Act helps single out those chemicals in pollution that cause diseases, and requires states to regulate them. This law also has positive impacts on things such as the economy, ecology, and sustainability. One reason the air in Vermont is so clean is the amount of rural area in the state. The pollution drops dramatically as you move away from urban centers such as Burlington and Rutland. I think the Clean Air Act and restrictions should be concentrated on the areas that need it more.
In the rural areas, there are more trees which produce more oxygen and get rid of the carbon dioxide. The sulfuric acid (from sulfur compounds reacting with water when evaporated) that harms Vermont trees comes more from other areas. This pollution comes primarily from the Midwest, which relies more on burning coal with a high sulfur content to produce electricity. These economies outside Vermont are based more upon the Industrial Revolution instead of agriculture and tourism. I think it is ironic that part of our economy (tourism) is based on the fact that we weren't as affected by the Industrial Revolution as the Midwest. Back when the use of fossil fuels was discovered, Vermont was too out of the way and rural for large population centers to grow well. With abundant numbers of trees, it was easier and cheaper to burn wood for heating than to have fossil fuel shipped in through less than perfect transportation systems. Even today, when we use electricity, the population density is still too low and Vermont is too removed from commerce centers to make use of large amounts of fossil fuel.
Vermont is the state with the lowest percentage of industry in the United States. Yet, we make 3.4 pounds of garbage daily! We also throw out toxic chemicals. Vermonters spend 60 million dollars a year for disposal of solid waste and 74 million for disposal of hazardous waste. Our trash also goes in landfills. Landfills can destroy and pollute our state. Yet our landfills have decreased in numbers. There are fewer landfills then a decade ago. How can we continue to keep our state the third lowest in trash disposal and dumping of toxic chemicals?
We can help the environment with the pollution prevention plan. In the 1980's industrial corporations made plans and reduced hazardous waste by 2, 598, 118 pounds. Many other businesses have tried using natural energy and non-toxic resources. If we can keep this up our state we will keep being healthy and clean.
I say that Vermont is doing a good job of deposing of waste. We could keep this up if we are conscious about the resources we use. Composting and using manure instead of fertilizers can cut down on food waste. Saving water and energy by having solar energy can cut down costs. This can also be better for the atmosphere and land.
If we need new landfills towns should do numerous tests to make sure everything is safe. The water and soil should be tested for contamination after the landfill is put in. Toxic chemicals should be shipped out to other states; yet that might raise taxes. If we kept the toxic chemicals in Vermont this could raise pollution. The best solution is to cut down greatly on toxic wastes.
New landfills would destroy forest habitats. Yet over time pollution could destroy forests all together. I assert that one good solution is to be careful what we use and cut down on polluting chemicals!
Chemicals can hurt Vermont's trees. Already the trees are dying do to diseases, such as Dutch elm disease and beech bark disease. Trees are also dying of pollution and clear cutting. Some trees end up in our living rooms. Trees take our carbon dioxide and make it into oxygen. If there are no trees, then humans wouldn't be alive.
Vermont has 18 billion trees or 62. 7 million cords of wood and the number keeps growing. The rate that trees are cut and cleared has been increasing rapidly over the last 12 years. One third of the trees are sent out of state. Soft woods and hardwoods are in demand. Standing trees are also in demand, and their price has been raised thirty seven percent. Trees cover eighty percent of Vermont and are a good resource. We must protect the trees covering Vermont or our state will be barren and take almost 100 hundred years to return to normal.
To keep this state as it is we must recycle our paper and not buy too many paper products. This will keep the trees alive. Keeping trees alive is a wonderful idea,but how can we make it happen?
We can maintain forests and limit forest harvesting. We can also encourage hiking and other forest recreation activities. We can cut down on using cars as much. Cars produce carbon dioxide. Walking, car pooling and public transport can cut down on carbon dioxide. No littering can also help. All these ideas can cut down on saving Vermont's forest.
Vermont must keep being a healthy state. This keeps the economy healthy and the scenery will still be wonderful. People must be careful and think about the resources they're using. Recycling, reusing and refusing all waste and paper products is a good way to help the environment. Think about what you buy and throw away. Be careful of the environment!