Lake Champlain Wins In Federal Budget Bill
Key funding for Lake Champlain has been included in the comprehensive budget package passed by Congress last week. At the urging of Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, the final budget includes a $3 million increase over last year for Lake Champlain through the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Geographic Program. The total allocation under the program for Lake Champlain is $4.399 million. The Geographic Program, and Lake Champlain in particular, have seen gradual funding reductions in recent years, and the President’s budget request for federal Fiscal Year 2015 included just $1.399 million. The new bill reverses that trend for this federal fiscal year.
“We have invested far too much and for far too long in the restoration and preservation of Lake Champlain to walk back on that commitment,” Leahy said. “With new federal requirements forcing Vermont, New York and all of our Lake partners to make difficult decisions about how to maintain our ‘Great Lake,’ this federal support will go a long way toward preserving one of Vermont’s greatest natural resources for generations to come.”
Lake Champlain will also benefit from other portions of the federal appropriations. The bill includes federal support to address sea lamprey through funding for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. There is funding for conservation programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and for the EPA’s clean water revolving loan fund. Earlier this summer Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $40 million in federal conservation funding for Vermont.