S.213 An act relating to the regulation of wetlands, river corridor development, and dam safety has become law.

S.213 has passed into law without the Governor’s signature. Now known as Act 121 the “Flood Safety Act”, this new law amends multiple provisions related to river corridors, flood hazard areas, wetlands, and dams. In addition, Act 121 bans the sale of dock floats, mooring buoys, or anchor or navigation markers made, in whole or in part, from expanded polystyrene foam (aka Styrofoam) that is not wholly encapsulated or encased within a more durable material.  It also bans all use of open-cell (beaded) polystyrene, including materials that are encapsulated and unencapsulated in any type of floating devices. The act also prohibits the use of unencapsulated polystyrene or open-cell (beaded) polystyrene for the installation or repair of a new buoy, dock, or floating structure on the waters of the State.

Polystyrene is a petroleum based product.  It can break apart easily forming smaller and smaller bits that remain in the water.  It cannot be recycled, is not biodegradable, can kill fish and other wildlife if ingested and is a threat to human health.  In the water, this foam degrades into ever smaller particles, becoming microplastics.

FOVLAP has strongly supported the effort to ban the sale and use of unencapsulated polystyrene in the waters of the state.  We have testified at the state legislature several times urging passage of this provision.  While the new law does not specifically require the removal of already existing unencapsulated polystyrene in floating devices, it does prohibit the use of polystyrene to repair existing devices.

We urge lake associations to share this information widely with your members and with all lake users.

We want to thank all who supported this legislation.  It is another important step in protecting and preserving Vermont’s precious water resources.

The full text of Act 121 and a summary of its provisions can both be found here: https://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2024/S.213