Environmental Permitting & Expert Testimony
AE has worked closely with clients and regulatory agencies on a wide range of environmental permits including State and Federal wetland permits, State Landuse and Development permit (Act 250), the Section 248 petition, and local (town) Planning and Development Review Board zoning permits. We typically work on Act 250 Criteria related to the following natural resources:
• Necessary Wildlife Habitat
• Rare and Irreplaceable Natural Areas (RINA)
• Rare, Threatened or Endangered Species (RTE)
AE works with individuals, businesses, municipalities, and state agencies to design projects that not only meet the objectives of the project but also avoid or minimize impacts to the significant natural resources on the site.
AE regularly presents expert testimony in a variety of settings, including local zoning and development review boards, Federal District Court, Vermont Superior Court, Environmental Court, Vermont Section 248 proceedings, Vermont Act 250 proceedings, former Environmental Board proceedings, and in former Water Resources Board proceedings. Recent and ongoing testimony before the Public Service Board includes presenting results of natural resource assessments for proposed energy projects such as commercial wind farm developments and expansions, as well as commercial solar projects.
AE’s Act 250 testimony presentation has been varied and extensive. AE has prepared and presented testimony for businesses, municipalities, environmental groups, and regulatory agencies at Act 250 District Commission’s and the Environmental Board. This testimony has pertained to Criterion: 1A Headwaters, 1D Floodways, 1E Streams, 1F Shorelines, and 1G Wetlands. AE has also provided evidence under Criteria 4, 8 and 8a. Under Criteria 8A, AE has developed and presented testimony relating to deeryards, moose habitats, early successional game habitats, high elevation songbirds including Bicknell's Thrush, bobcat and all aspects of black bear ecology and regulatory issues.
Testimony before the Water Resources Board included using functional assessments for wetland reclassification, wetland boundary determinations, reservoir ecology and stream reclassification and ecology.
AE’s work before the Environmental Court involved a wide variety of resource issues. Working mainly for municipalities AE has presented evidence on wetlands, wetland function and value, wetland environmental impact assessment, wetland restoration, deeryard protection, overall wildlife habitat and wildlife impact assessments.
AE has testified many times before local zoning boards in areas relating to wetlands, waterways, rare, threatened and endangered species and many aspects of wildlife biology and regulatory programs.
Superior Court Testimony
AE provided expert testimony on behalf of a Vermont town and a private landowner in the defense of Plaintiff's claims that diverted stormwater flow was creating a nuisance. AE was tasked with evaluating whether the relocation of an existing cross road culvert was altering the historic drainage patterns resulting in an increase in the stormwater flow reaching a wetland area on Plaintiff's property. Through extensive review of historic documents and digitally available databases, AE reconstructed the historic drainage patterns of the area and was able to demonstrate that the relocation resulted in no additional stormwater flows to the subject wetland. AE, additionally demonstrated that there was no credible evidence to suggest that the subject wetland has changed in size or character as a result of the culvert relocation. In the Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order, the Court sided with the evidence provided by AE and ruled in the Defendents favor on these points.