Vermont Adds Enforcement To Lake Champlain Cleanup Tools

Jan 26, 2015

Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell (left), Vermont Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross (center) and Vermont DEC Commissioner David Mears (right) at water quality meeting January 26, 2015
Credit WAMC/Pat Bradley

Vermont's top officials say legal enforcement of water quality rules on the state's farmers is going to be one of the tools that will be used to help clean up Lake Champlain.

State officials were in St Albans Monday to outline a four pronged approach to address agricultural based water quality issues impacting Lake Champlain.  

While enforcement is a possibility, Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross say penalties would be used as a last resort.   “The majority of our effort is to help on outreach, education, technical assistance and compliance.  Because we don’t want to get to enforcement. By the time we get to enforcement something’s gone wrong.”

The enforcement could include civil fines, a loss of tax breaks for agricultural lands and the ability to limit livestock.

State officials say they need to zero in on a relatively small number of sources of pollution flowing into rivers that feed into the lake.

Secretary Chuck Ross was joined by Attorney General Bill Sorrell and others during the meeting in St. Albans.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.