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Searching 2021-2022 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

 

Title 6 : Agriculture

Chapter 215 : AGRICULTURAL WATER QUALITY

Subchapter 010 : Enforcement

(Cite as: 6 V.S.A. § 4995)
  • § 4995. Civil enforcement

    (a) The Secretary may bring an action in the Civil Division of the Superior Court to enforce the requirements of this chapter, or rules adopted under this chapter, or any permit or certification issued under this chapter, to assure compliance, and to obtain penalties in the amounts described in subsection (b) of this section. The action shall be brought by the Attorney General in the name of the State.

    (b) The court may grant temporary and permanent injunctive relief, and may:

    (1) Enjoin future activities.

    (2) Order corrective actions to be taken to mitigate or curtail any violation and to protect human health or the environment, including a requirement that the owner or operator of a farm sell or otherwise remove livestock from the farm or production area when the volume of wastes produced by livestock exceeds the infrastructure capacity of the farm or its production area to manage the waste or waste leachate to prevent runoff or leaching of wastes to waters of the State or groundwater as required by the standards in this chapter.

    (3) Order the design, construction, installation, operation, or maintenance of facilities designed to mitigate or prevent a violation of this chapter or to protect human health or the environment or designed to assure compliance.

    (4) Fix and order compensation for any public or private property destroyed or damaged.

    (5) Revoke coverage under any permit or certification issued under this chapter.

    (6) Order reimbursement from any person who caused governmental expenditures for the investigation, abatement, mitigation, or removal of a hazard to human health or the environment.

    (7) Levy a civil penalty as provided in this subdivision. A civil penalty of not more than $85,000.00 may be imposed for each violation. In addition, in the case of a continuing violation, a penalty of not more than $42,500.00 may be imposed for each day the violation continues. In fixing the amount of the penalty, the court shall apply the criteria set forth in subsections (e) and (f) of this section. The cost of collection of penalties or other monetary awards shall be assessed against and added to a penalty assessed against a respondent.

    (c)(1) In any civil action brought under this section in which a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction is sought, relief shall be obtained upon a showing that there is the probability of success on the merits and that:

    (A) a violation exists; or

    (B) a violation is imminent and substantial harm is likely to result.

    (2) In a civil action brought under this section in which a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction is sought, the Secretary need not demonstrate immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage.

    (d) Any balancing of the equities in actions under this section may affect the time by which compliance shall be attained, but not the necessity of compliance within a reasonable period of time.

    (e)(1) In determining the amount of the penalty provided in subsection (b) of this section, the court shall consider the following:

    (A) the degree of actual or potential impact on public health, safety, welfare, and the environment resulting from the violation;

    (B) the presence of mitigating circumstances, including unreasonable delay by the Secretary in seeking enforcement;

    (C) whether the respondent knew or had reason to know the violation existed;

    (D) the respondent's record of compliance;

    (E) the deterrent effect of the penalty;

    (F) the State's actual costs of enforcement; and

    (G) the length of time the violation has existed.

    (2) In determining the amount of the penalty provided in subsection (b) of this section, the court may consider additional relevant factors.

    (f) In addition to any penalty assessed under subsection (b) of this section, the Secretary may also recapture economic benefit resulting from a violation. (Added 2015, No. 64, § 17.)