Bill Sorrell has been a state and national leader in helping protect the environment. Under Bill's leadership, the Attorney General's Office has been aggressive in pursuing polluters and in defending state statutes and regulations to safeguard public health and the environment.
Vermont and other states successfully sued a large midwestern utility, resulting in a requirement of substantial reductions in air pollutants from many facilities whose emissions reach Vermont and funding for the state to foster new environmental projects.
Vermont successfully defended its motor vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards against the automobile industry and its allies in a first in the nation case in federal court.
Vermont joined other states and environmental groups in successfully forcing EPA to agree to issue new stronger standards for soot emissions (particulate matter that causes health and environmental issues).
Energy -- State's Rights
The Office is defending the Vermont legislature's right to decide Vermont's energy future, including whether the state will continue to host a nuclear power plant. The case, Entergy v. Shumlin, is currently on appeal to the Federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
Entergy v. Shumlin 2nd Circuit Brief
Vermont and other plaintiffs successfully appealed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's waste confidence rule for spent nuclear fuel storage before a federal appellate court, forcing the NRC to consider the actual environmental impacts of long-term storage of spent nuclear fuel.
New York v. NRC Ruling
The Office successfully settled water related environmental cases, resulting in the imposition of civil penalties, funding of new environmental projects and, in one case, the removal of a structure wrongfully built in a protected wetland and buffer area.
The Office has joined with the Agency of Natural Resources and Agency of Agriculture in a new statewide initiative to deal with agricultural water quality issues through state environmental enforcement when necessary.
Hazardous Waste and Clean-up of Contaminated Sites
The Office has successfully litigated cases involving multiple violations of the state's hazardous waste management regulations, resulting in the collection of hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties and remedial compliance requirements.
The Office has successfully litigated cases against salvage yard operators who failed to have appropriate licenses and/or failed to follow environmental rules.
The Office has litigated and successfully resolved many cases involving contaminated industrial sites in the state, resulting in the clean-up of the properties and collection of millions of dollars to reimburse state environmental clean-up funds.
Criminal Environmental Enforcement
The Office successfully prosecuted an individual for three felonies relating to illegal dumping of 23 drums of hazardous waste and burying of solid waste in the southern part of Vermont.
The Office successfully prosecuted an individual for filing false public water supply reports, resulting in two misdemeanor convictions and fines.
Act 250 -- State's Land Use Law
The Office has litigated and resolved enforcement cases under Vermont's statewide land use law, resulting in civil penalties.
The Office has successfully defended provisions and jurisdiction of Act 250 in state courts to ensure the broad reach of the land use law in the state.