Vermont Conservation Voters

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H.559 – Amendment to Strip Citizen Rights of Action to Help Enforce Clean Water Laws

Pro-environment vote: NO

This amendment would have stripped a provision to allow Vermont citizens to bring lawsuits if the state is not enforcing clean water laws. The provision would have required that the state be notified, and given the state time to respond and enforce clean water laws. If enforcement did not happen, a lawsuit could proceed. Citizen rights of action are a key tool used to enforce federal environmental laws, and many states have these provisions. Unfortunately, this language was ultimately pulled from the clean water legislation that was enacted.

Status: Amendment was defeated in the Senate, but the citizen rights of action provision was later stripped from the bill; Senate vote 11-18.