Midday Newscast: June 30, 2008

New reason for concern about families stuggling to pay for their basic needs; fuel prices are on the minds of Vermont’s congressional delegation; environmental group says VANR has failed to control large farm pollution; Anthony Pollina  attacks Gov. Jim Douglas for cutting the state work force.

Sewage spills increase with heavy rains

Untreated sewage continues to pour into public waters around the state – especially into the Lake Champlain basin. The reason is that treatment systems are sometimes weakened by age or overwhelmed by heavy rains. VPR’s John Dillon reports.

Lake cleanup bill includes compost provision

A bill that would ease restrictions on sewage treatment plants in the Lake Champlain watershed is making headway in the Statehouse. The bill would also exempt composting facilities from Act 250 jurisdiction. That provision has some advocates questioning what compost has to do with Lake Champlain.

Towns say lake clean up too costly

The League of Cities and Towns has joined with the Douglas Administration to overturn a law that could force towns to spend more to clean up Lake Champlain. They say complying with the law would be too costly. But environmentalists say everyone must chip in to get a cleaner lake. VPR’s John Dillon reports:

Vt. pursues unique legal strategy to reduce mercury levels

Vermont has joined other New England states and New York in asking the federal government to cut mercury pollution coming from Midwest coal plants. The states are pursuing a unique legal strategy. They hope to use a provision of the Clean Water Act to reduce mercury levels in the region’s fish.