Lake Champlain and other state waters provide incalculable value for the state, supporting everything from tourism and recreation to commercial uses to drinking water. Unfortunately, degraded water quality is resulting in problems including extensive and pervasive blue-green algae blooms, which hurt local economies via decreased recreation, tourism, property values, and overall quality of life.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) required Vermont to enhance its efforts to clean up Lake Champlain. Vermont had to provide the EPA with a serious cleanup proposal – including stricter regulations on major sources of pollution, and new funding to implement and enforce these regulations. Due to this requirement and water quality concerns across the state, in 2015 the Vermont Legislature responded by passing the Vermont Clean Water Act (Act 64). This legislation included stronger regulations and requirements on farms, forests, developed lands, roads, and more.
Fundamental to the success of the Vermont Clean Water Act, and meeting our legal obligations required by the EPA, is the sufficient investment of resources needed to implement on-the-ground projects to reduce pollution. Vermont Treasurer Beth Pearce, in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Conservation, produced a detailed report on potential funding sources, which provides a good baseline for discussions. To meet our obligations and safeguard the health of our communities and families and the Vermont brand, we need to enact long-term, stable funding that appropriately invests in our water cleanup efforts.
2017 Legislative Priorities:
- Enact sustainable long-term revenue sources for clean water investments that will be of sufficient magnitude to meet our economic, legal, and moral obligation to ensure healthy, safe water for all Vermonters.
- Enact policies building on the Vermont Clean Water Act (Act 64) to improve water quality, including setting a 0.5-acre threshold for stormwater permitting.