The Vermont Statutes Online
Subchapter 001 : General Provisions(Cite as: 10 V.S.A. § 6615c)
§ 6615c. Information requests
(a)(1) When the Secretary has reasonable grounds to believe that the Secretary has identified a person who may be subject to liability for a release or threat of release under section 6615 of this title, the Secretary may require the person to furnish information related to:
(A) The type, nature, and quantity of any commercial chemical product or hazardous material that has been or is being used, generated, treated, stored, or disposed of at a facility or transported to a facility.
(B) The nature or extent of a release or threatened release of a hazardous material from a facility.
(C) Financial information related to the ability of a person to pay for or to perform the cleanup or information surrounding the corporate structure, if any, of such person who may be subject to liability for a release or threat of release under section 6615 of this title, provided that the person has notified the Secretary that he or she does not have the ability to pay, refuses to perform, or fails to respond to a deadline established under section 6615b of this title to commit to performing a corrective action.
(2) A person served with an information request shall respond within 30 days of receipt of the request or by the date specified by the Secretary in the request, provided that the Secretary may require a person to respond within 10 days of receipt of a request when there is an imminent threat to the environment or other emergency that requires an expedited response.
(3) When the Secretary submits a request for information under this section, the Secretary shall inform the person who received the request for information about the person's right to object or not comply with the request for information. The information shall include the potential actions that the Secretary may pursue if the person objects to or does not comply with the request for information.
(b)(1) A person who has received a request under subsection (a) of this section shall, at the discretion of the Secretary, either:
(A) grant the Secretary access, at reasonable times, to any facility, establishment, place, property, or location to inspect and copy all documents or records responsive to the request; or
(B) copy and furnish to the Secretary all information responsive to the request at the option and expense of the person or provide a written explanation that the information has already been provided to the Secretary and a reference to the permit, enforcement action, or other matter under which the Secretary obtained the requested information.
(2) A person responding to a request under subsection (a) of this section may assert any privilege under statute, rule, or common law that is recognized in the State of Vermont to limit access to such information, including the attorney-client privilege. A person responding to a request for information under this section shall not assert privileges related to business confidentiality, including trade secrets, in order to withhold requested information. Any information that is privileged shall be provided to the Secretary with the privileged material redacted. The Secretary may require that a person asserting a privilege under this section provide an index of all privileged information.
(c) The Secretary may require any person who has or may have knowledge of any information listed in subdivision (a)(1) of this section to appear at the offices of the Secretary and may take testimony and require the production of records that relate to a release or threatened release of a hazardous material.
(d) Any request for information under this section shall be served personally or by certified mail.
(e) A response to a request under this section shall be personally certified by the person responding to the request that, under penalty of perjury and to the best of the person's knowledge:
(1) the response is accurate and truthful; and
(2) the person has not omitted responsive information or will provide the responsive information according to a production schedule approved by the Secretary.
(f) Information identified as qualifying for the trade secret exemption under 1 V.S.A. § 317(c)(9) and other financial information submitted under this section shall be confidential and shall not be subject to inspection and copying under the Public Records Act. A person subject to an information request under this section shall be responsible for proving that submitted information qualifies for the trade secret exemption under 1 V.S.A. § 317(c)(9). The following information is not trade secret information or financial information for the purposes of this subsection:
(1) the trade name, common name, or generic class or category of the hazardous material;
(2) the physical properties of the hazardous material, including its boiling point, melting point, flash point, specific gravity, vapor density, solubility in water, and vapor pressure at 20 degrees Celsius;
(3) the hazards to health and the environment posed by the hazardous material, including physical hazards and potential acute and chronic health hazards;
(4) the potential routes of human exposure to the hazardous material at the facility;
(5) the location of disposal of any waste stream at the facility;
(6) any monitoring data or analysis of monitoring data pertaining to disposal activities;
(7) any hydrogeologic or geologic data; or
(8) any groundwater monitoring data.
(g) As used in this section, "information" means any written or recorded information, including all documents, records, photographs, recordings, e-mail, correspondence, or other machine readable material. (Added 2015, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. June 1, 2016.)