An act relating to Vermont standards for issuing a Clean Water Act section 401 certification, VT HB 108 (2021); 10 V.S.A. § 1253


This Act directs the  Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources to administer a ” Clean Water Act Section 401 certification program to review activities that require a federal license or permit to ensure that a proposed activity complies with the Vermont Water
Quality Standards, as well as with any other appropriate requirement of State law, including:
(A) 10 V.S.A. chapter 37 (wetlands protection and water resources management);
(B) 10 V.S.A. chapter 41 (regulation of stream flow);
(C) 10 V.S.A. § 1264 (stormwater management);
(D) 29 V.S.A. chapter 11 (management of lakes and ponds); and
(E) the Agency of Natural Resources Rules for Water Withdrawals for Snowmaking.”

Additionally, the Secretary shall not grant an application for certification under Section 401 of the CWA “unless the applicant demonstrates all of the following:
(A) there is no practicable alternative to the proposed activity that would have a less adverse impact on waters and wetlands of the State and provided that any proposed alternative shall not have other significant adverse human health, safety, or environmental consequences; (B) the proposed activity will not result in the violation of any applicable water quality criteria established in the Vermont Water Quality Standards; and (C) the proposed activity will not result in a violation of the State’s antidegradation policy.”

The Act also directs the Secretary to amend the Vermont Water Quality Standards to include: “(1) An amendment to the Classification of State Waters to clarify that with regard to all Class I and II wetlands, as defined in 10 V.S.A. § 902, the uses to be protected include the functions and values of the wetland as described in Section 5 of the Vermont Wetland Rules.
(2) An amendment to the antidegradation policy to clarify that wetlands and their functions and values shall be protected as described by the Vermont Wetland Rules” along with any additional provisions the Secretary deems necessary related to 10 V.S.A.
§ 1253(h).

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