Community forum: Agency of Natural Resources should do their jobs

This week’s writer is Ripton resident Mark Nelson, chair of the Vermont Chapter of the Sierra Club.
I am writing to make people aware of a series of meetings that the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) is hosting. These meetings are listed on their website as “a listening tour this February and March to hear directly from “our customers” about their experiences interacting with the agency. Secretary Julie Moore invites business owners, planners, real estate agents and others with regular business before the agency to attend one of five public forums being hosted across the state at regional economic development commissions.” These meetings seem in conflict with the ANR’s primary responsibilities and Vermonters should be concerned about the potential outcomes of these meetings.
The ANR website contains the following statement — “Respect. Protect. Enjoy. The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources promotes the sustainable use of Vermont’s natural resources, protects and improves the health of Vermont’s peoples and ecosystems, and promotes sustainable outdoor recreation.” Reading further, the site states, they are “… charged with oversight and management of Vermont’s natural environment on behalf of the people of Vermont. (They) endeavor to draw from and build upon Vermonters’ shared ethic of responsibility for our natural environment, an ethic that encompasses a sense of place, community and quality of life, and an understanding that we are an integral part of the environment, and that we must all be responsible stewards for this and future generations.”
Nowhere on their website can I find any reference to a responsibility to make it easier for business owners, planners, real estate agents and others to work with them. Yet, they have set up a series of meetings across the state inviting these groups to “…hear about opportunities to further improve the agency’s current permitting and regulatory systems to deliver better, more efficient business and organizational outcomes while protecting Vermont’s natural resources.” Based on the ANR’s responsibilities and charges, I would think that Vermont’s natural resources and Vermont’s citizens that depend on a healthy natural environment are in fact the ANR’s “customers.” Not “business owners, planners, and real estate agents.”
The ANR oversees permitting processes for state and federally delegated programs to maintain clean air, water, and soils as well as healthy forests and ecosystems. Therefore, one would have to ask why they deem it necessary to get input from entities that they are charged with regulating. Is it to begin the process to weaken oversight in the name of “…better, more efficient business and organizational outcomes…”?
I encourage people to attend these meetings and speak up for yourselves and for Vermont’s natural resources that we enjoy and depend upon for healthy lives. Vermont’s natural resources are not only beneficial to each of us and our children, but they are also a key driver for Vermont’s economy.
The closest meeting to Addison County is in Rutland this Wednesday, March 1, 9-10 a.m.; Rutland Economic Development Corp., 67 Merchants Row, 3rd Floor.
If you can’t make a meeting, send your thoughts to ANR Secretary Julie Moore directly in an email or letter.
We need to make sure that the ANR holds true to its responsibilities and does not cater to those that they are charged with regulating. Effective and efficient management and oversight of Vermont’s natural resources should not be driven to meet the whims and desires of those that wish to profit from it. Stand up and tell the ANR to do its job and oversee and manage Vermont’s natural resources on behalf of the people of Vermont, not business owners, planners, and real estate agents. You can find the location and times of the other ANR meetings at their website: http://anr.vermont.gov/node/932.

Share this story:

More News
US Probation Office Uncategorized

US Probation Office Request for Proposals

US Probation Office 2×1.5 062024 RFP

Middlebury American Legion Uncategorized

Middlebury American Legion Annual Meeting

Middlebury American Legion 062024 1×1.5 Annual Meeting

Sports Uncategorized

MAV girls’ lax nets two triumphs

The Mount Abraham-Vergennes cooperative girls’ lacrosse team moved over .500 with a pair o … (read more)

Share this story: