EPA Takes Big Step Toward Cleaning Lake Champlain

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Josh Block
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New pollution limits set by federal agency in response to CLF advocacy

June 17, 2016 (BURLINGTON, VT) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) released the following statement today in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) release of new mandatory phosphorus pollution limits for Lake Champlain. These limits come as a result of a CLF lawsuit and federal court settlement with EPA over 2002 limits that were found to be insufficient for protecting the health of the lake. Following the release of draft limits last August, CLF pushed for stricter accountability requirements and a new monitoring process, both of which are included in the final limits released today.

“Nobody should have to think twice before letting their kids swim or their dogs play in Lake Champlain, but years of neglect have taken their toll on the health and vibrancy of this vital waterbody,” said CLF Lake Champlain Lakekeeper Rebekah Weber. “Today, EPA took a big step toward addressing the rampant over-pollution and under-enforcement of our lake. While there’s still more work to be done, we are on the right track to ensuring our children will have the opportunity to enjoy and treasure Lake Champlain as we have been fortunate to do.”

Phosphorus pollution from agriculture, sewage treatment plants, and polluted runoff from paved areas has caused a dramatic decline in the lake’s water quality that shows up as toxic algae outbreaks, foul odors, and noxious algae and weed growth. These conditions are dangerous for swimming and boating, kill fish and other aquatic organisms, and degrade the lake’s scenic beauty.

In addition to founding the Lake Champlain Lakekeeper Program almost 15 years ago, CLF has pursued a decade-long advocacy campaign to spur action to clean up the lake and will continue working to ensure that the new pollution limits are implemented consistent with legal requirements.

CLF experts are available for further comment.


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