Here at Friends of Northern Lake Champlain (FNLC), we have been working to educate and inform the legislators so that they understand the importance of passing a comprehensive Water Quality Bill H.35 this year. It is time to do it and it needs to happen – so much is at stake for our lakes, rivers, and waterways. This bill, although some people may feel is not strong enough, does a couple of key things that FNLC has been advocating for years.
Seven Key Components of H.35
- Established a Clean Water Fund, a dedicated funding source to help us implement projects and helps our farmers, municipalities, and landowners reduce non-point sources of pollution.
- Creates a certification program for manure spreading and application.
- Allows MS4 communities an opportunity to access statewide resources for water quality projects.
- Creates a certification program for small farms.
- Provides resources to the Agency of Food and Markets to increase their staffing to better enforce and regulate current clean water laws.
- Takes a look at agricultural tiles and managing the water at the end.
- Removes access to the Current Use Tax Incentives if landowners are not meeting the Accepted Agricultural Practices.
The bill came out early in the session and is now being debated and re-drafted. We are concerned that it will not pass. This is the most comprehensive water quality bill the state of Vermont has ever proposed and could be the key to a clean water future for our state.
We are going to need your support and voices to advocate for this bill. Here is the most current draft! This bill will touch every committee in the House and the Senate.