Administrative Rulemaking- Climate and Hazardous Waste
Friday, August 19, 2022
Section: Legislative Update

anr logo
The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and Department of Environmental Conservation have been hard at work developing rules on several issues. Notably we have been paying attention to climate and hazardous waste regulations. From time to time the department updates existing guildelines to stay current with Federal standards, make technical corrections or follow legislative direction. The rulemaking process begins with agencies working with stakeholders to craft a rule which then heads to two committees prior to enactment. First, the rule will go to the Interagency Committee on Administrative Rules (ICAR) which reviews the rule and public comments to make sure that the rule is legal and constitutional. Second the rule will be presented to the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (LCAR) which reviews both public comment and the rule to make sure it aligns with legislative intent. Neither ICAR or LCAR make a decision whether a rule is a "good idea" or the specific content. Their charge is simply to make sure its legal and within the intent of the legislature.

Last week the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) held a meeting to share new rules for handlers of hazardous waste. The rulemaking process had completed and the agency gave an update as to changes which were largely tied to Federal standards. One change which the lobbying team had been involved with was the "oily water rule". Prior to adoption of the rule we learned that the agency sought to move away from Federal standards to a more stringent requirement which made water a hazardous waste. After several conversations with the agency they agreed to withdraw the "oily water" provision from the new rule.

Under the Global Warming Solutions Act passed several years ago a climate council was created to give direction to Agency of Natural Resources to create rules to adhere to emission reductions. One of the rules recently introduced mirrors the California policy which requires certain percentages of new passenger cars and trucks to be sold by dealers phasing out gas and diesel motors. Another similar rule is aimed at reducing the number of gas or diesel medium and heavy duty trucks to be sold. These policies are also being mirrored in the thermal energy sector by requiring new building energy standards. 

Additionally the climate council is considering other rules such as Targeting “Super Users”  Even with all the federal funds, rebates, incentives, and outright bans, Vermont will still likely fall short of the legal requirement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Vermont Climate Council will consider a series of recommendations next month, including one to get gasoline “super-users” to give up their combustion engine and go electric. The challenge is that most large users of gasoline live in rural areas, drive trucks, and commute long distances to work. Another recommendation is for Vermont to create a cap and trade program for transportation fuels similar to the failed Transportation Climate Initiative. 

Your lobbying team is closely monitoring these rules processes and will report back to membership. If you have any questions please send me an email at