Lake Champlain preservation receives federal money

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(Host) President Bush has signed legislation that allocates $55 million to protect the environment of Lake Champlain.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) The money will be available over a five-year period to help reduce the amount of phosphorous and toxic contaminants that are coming into the lake. Independent Senator James Jeffords, who is one of the lead sponsors of the legislation, says the effort is needed to help insure the long term vitality of the lake:

(Jeffords) “This will just really put us going forward instead of sliding backwards, and that’s what I think is most important about it. And to have the funding available, it will be $11 million a year for five years. So that’s going to really do wonders for our ability to at least keeps things from getting worse, but hopefully getting the pollution problems well under control.”

(Kinzel) Jeffords says the bill is the first step in an ongoing plan to maintain the environmental and economic health of Lake Champlain:

(Jeffords) “First of all, there will be sufficient money to do tests to study and really make sure we know what’s going on in the lake. And then to have sufficient money in order to reduce the pollution and to really improve the fishing and all the other great attributes of the lake.”

(Kinzel) Because the Republicans regained control of the U.S. Senate on Election Day, Jeffords will no longer be chair of the Senate’s Environment Committee. But Jeffords says he plans to very active on environmental issues as the ranking minority member of that committee.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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