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Green River Appeal Heads to the VT Supreme Court

Posted: 02/12/2019
by Robert Nasdor

American Whitewater is heading to the Vermont Supreme Court next month in its ongoing work to protect whitewater boating on the Green River. Following our big win in the Superior Court, Environmental Division in which the court overturned the state prohibition of scheduled releases on the Green, the state appealed to the Vermont Supreme Court. We filed our Supreme Court brief and oral argument is scheduled for March 12th at the Vermont Law School in South Royalton.

American Whitewater has been involved with the Green since before the 2011 whitewater boating study on behalf of our affiliate Vermont Paddlers Club. The legal dispute followed our appeal of the state Water Quality Certification that reduced natural boating opportunities and prohibited future scheduled boating releases that have been voluntarily provided by the municipal power company. After a two week trial last April, the court ruled that (1) whitewater boating during natural events and during scheduled releases was a protected existing use, (2) conditions mandated by ANR in its water quality certification would substantially eliminate that use, and, (3) ANR's mandatory conditions must include a requirement for three scheduled whitewater boating releases annually.  Vermont appealed the court's decision both with regard to the court's determination that favored the power company as well as the court's ruling protecting whitewater boating and requiring scheduled releases. Working closely with our attorneys at Tarrant, Gillies amd Richardson in Montpelier, we filed our brief. In our brief arguing the following:

-There is no conflict between protecting the existing use of the Green River for whitewater boating and the designated use of the river for aquatic habitat
-The Clean Water Act and Vermont Water Quality Standards protect both designated and existing uses including whitewater boating
-The Environmental Court correctly found that the ANR conditions would fail to protect whitewater boating and required scheduled releases
-ANR's argument that the existing use of the river for whitewater boating is not protected is not entitled to deference

We look forward to arguing our case before the Vermont Supreme Court next month and establishing the precedent that whitewater boating is a protected activity in the state.

American Whitewater is heading to the Vermont Supreme Court next month in its ongoing work to protect whitewater boating on the Green River. Following our big win in the Superior Court, Environmental Division in which the court overturned the state prohibition of scheduled releases on the Green, the state appealed to the Vermont Supreme Court. We filed our Supreme Court brief and oral argument is scheduled for March 12th at the Vermont Law School in South Royalton. American Whitewater has been involved with the Green since before the 2011 whitewater boating study on behalf of our affiliate Vermont Paddlers Club.

 

Bob Nasdor