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Add your voice: Investing in Vermont waters

We wanted to let you know about an important opportunity to be part of crafting Vermont’s response to pollution threats facing our waterways. Yesterday, VNRC Policy & Water Program Director Jon Groveman was on Vermont Edition to discuss a new draft report submitted to the Legislature detailing how to fund vital water clean up and protection initiatives.

Vermonters have until Nov. 1st to submit comments on the plan and we encourage you to add your voice to the conversation.
Our waters face real and persistent threats resulting in beach closures, lost property values, harm to Vermont’s growing outdoor recreation economy, and public health concerns. Vermont made a commitment to clean up our waters when we passed the Vermont Clean Water Act of 2015 and the Lake Champlain clean-up plan. But to meet our commitment to clean water, Vermont needs a long-term, stable, dedicated funding source to implement vital on-the-ground projects essential to cleaning up our waters.
Unfortunately, this draft plan doesn’t yet rise to the challenge. Instead of creating a path to long-term funding, the draft plan recommends a piecemeal approach that is heavily dependent on capital funding, which is money we can’t count on from year to year, and needs to be paid pack.
We know that Vermont needs stable, long-term dedicated funding to meet our important phosphorus reduction and clean-up goals for Lake Champlain and other threatened waterways. We need a forward-looking proposal that puts Vermont on track to clean up and protect our waterways for today – and for generations to come. Further, we should explore the creation of a Clean Water Authority that is publically accountable and can work to strategically deploy money into Vermont communities to clean up our waters.
Most of all, we need the report to recommend that the Legislature put in place a plan this year that will create a dedicated new funding source that does not rely significantly on capital funds when the current funding expires in July 2019.
It’s time for Vermont to double down and do what it takes to protect our health, environment, and economy. Thank you in advance for submitting your comment.
P.S. Want to learn more about the state of Vermont waterways? Vermont PBS is currently showing Saving Our Waters, a documentary series exploring the urgent issues facing Lake Champlain and other vital waterways in Vermont. They will also be hosting several town hall meetings which are free and open to the public. I will be speaking as part of a panel of experts at the Nov. 1st town hall in Burlington and hope you’ll be able to attend!