Stormwater Runoff

New York's highest court has ruled that the state's regulation of municipal stormwater discharges does not violate the federal Clean Water Act, as environmental groups claimed in a lawsuit.

The Court of Appeals split 4-to-3 in the decision Tuesday that upholds the Department of Environmental Conservation's general permit for municipal separate storm sewer systems.

The Natural Resources Defense Council and other groups contend the state's rules are too lax, allowing polluted runoff to pour unabated into rivers, lakes and coastal waters from hundreds of municipalities.

Vermont's Agency of Natural Resources is helping cities and towns control stormwater runoff.

Environmental Conservation Commissioner David Mears says the state will invest federal money to help communities.

He said in Northfield, for example, officials are considering a proposed biomass plant and a plan to treat resulting wastewater. In Isle La Motte, officials are seeking money for engineering services that might improve stormwater runoff.