AW Wins Court Battle Protecting Green River (VT) Boating
By: Robert Nasdor
The Vermont Superior Court sided with American Whitewater in a long-running dispute with the state over whitewater boating on the Green River in Morrisville. The Court overturned state restrictions that would have eliminated any meaningful opportunity for boaters to enjoy this extraordinary river and required scheduled releases in a ground breaking decision.
AW and the Vermont Paddlers Club have be working to secure scheduled releases through the hydropower relicensing of the Green River Dam. Despite support from FERC and the power company for whitewater boating releases, Vermont ANR prohibited releases, refusing to recognize that whitewater boating is an existing use on the river that should be preserved.
The court case was the result of an appeal filed by AW/VPC, arguing that whitewater boating is an existing use on the Green River protected under the Clean Water Act. After a 2-week trial in Burlington last spring, the Court ruled that the state restrictions failed to protect whitewater boating and ordered that "scheduled releases must occur at a time during which boaters can take advantage of the flows, such as weekend daylight hours."
The Court's decision validated the quality of AW's scientific approach and legal analysis that were core to our advocacy. We want to recognize the skillful legal representation provided by Ryan Kane and Dan Richardson at the Montpelier law firm Tarrant, Gillies, and Richardson, whose generous support for our case was indispensable.