Stories of our connected and rapidly changing region.

cpb-logo

Federal Funds For Lake Champlain Double, But Vermont Still Needs To Secure Its Own Money

Algae bloom seen in Burlington in 2015. Photo courtesy of the Vermont Department of Health

Algae bloom seen in Burlington in 2015. Photo courtesy of the Vermont Department of Health

Lake Champlain will get a $4 million increase in federal clean-up funds this year. But the Environmental Protection Agency says Vermont still needs to develop a funding source of its own.

The additional money almost doubles the amount under the EPA’s Lake Champlain program.

Sen. Patrick Leahy actually secured the funds back in March when Congress passed a government spending bill. But Leahy, the vice chairman of the Appropriations Committee, staged a victory lap Monday in Burlington with state and federal officials.

“The president’s budget targeted this program for elimination,” said Leahy. “I said that’s not going to happen.”

The money is aimed at reducing phosphorus pollution from urban runoff, farms and sewage treatment plants.

The state is also committed to coming up with long-term funding. EPA Region 1 Administrator Alexandra Dunn said the new federal funds do not free Vermont from its obligations under the terms of the lake cleanup plan.

The plan, known as the “total maximum daily load,” or TMDL, sets the total allowed phosphorus budget for various sections of the lake.

“The state is still required under the TMDL to develop a long-term funding source,” Dunn said. “The funding as you heard discussed today is allocated to a variety of different projects. What the state source of funding will do is allow this to continue regardless of fluctuations in federal spending. And that is still critical.”

Visit VPR for the full story.