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Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic


Developing Better Controls on Polluting Junkyards in Vermont

In Milton, Vermont, ABC Metals illegally operated a polluting junkyard for several decades. The soil in the neighborhood was laden with heavy metals, a local drinking water well showed dangerous levels of arsenic, and the local pond was contaminated with PCBs. In partnership with Toxics Action Center, the Clinic worked with community group Milton CLEAN to ensure neighbors were aware of the environmental dangers they faced and to put pressure on the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and Attorney General to press forward aggressively with enforcement action against the junkyard owner. The Chittenden Superior Court confirmed that the junkyard was operating illegally without a permit, and the State continued to work toward ensuring cleanup at the site.

This was a major milestone for Milton CLEAN in its campaign to shut down the junkyard and clean up area drinking water. Further, as a direct result of this campaign, additional communities across Vermont have gotten involved in efforts to control polluting junkyards, which led to new state legislation strengthening controls for junkyards to promote better operational practices and reduce pollution threats.