Vermonters are tired of polluted water. The beach closures, sick dogs, and lowered property values are an ever-growing cause for concern. And now, a recent report has found that the majority of Vermonters are willing to shell out for clean water.
A team of researchers at the University of Vermont analyzed the results of two statewide polls to understand Vermonters’ willingness to pay to protect our water. It turns out that the majority of Vermonters are willing to pay $40 through additional water utility and vehicle registration fees each year to improve water quality.
The Costs of Inaction
It’s a good thing Vermonters are willing to pay up. This is especially true since the cost of inaction could be devastating. Another University of Vermont study found that every one meter decrease in water clarity in Lake Champlain during July and August equals the loss of 195 full-time jobs and $12.6 million in tourism dollars, totaling an economic cost of $16.8 million.
A lingering question is how much is it going to take to clean up Lake Champlain? A Vermont Agency of Natural Resources report published in 2013 estimated an annual additional cost of $156 million for ten years. The next question is who should pay? Not all of the costs should nor will be borne by taxpayer dollars.
Make Your Voice Heard
While Vermonters are willing, and should, pay some of the costs to clean up our waters, businesses that have profited by polluting our lakes and rivers can’t be left off the hook. To share your comments on funding clean water, fill out this questionnaire by 4:30 on July 30, 2016.