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Vt. Proposes Lake Champlain Cleanup Plan

The State of Vermont says it's getting serious about cleaning up Lake Champlain.
BURLINGTON, Vt. - The State of Vermont says it's getting serious about cleaning up Lake Champlain.

It's submitted a plan to do that to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"The condition of the lake is deplorable and we have a crisis," says Chris Kilian, director of the Conservation Law Foundation Vermont.

That crisis is caused by phosphorus and results in problems including algae blooms. Now the State of Vermont says it is eyeing fixes.

"What's most important about this plan is that it's a comprehensive plan," says David Mears, Vermont Environmental Conservation Commissioner.

Mears laid out the plan in Montpelier Thursday.

It calls for reducing the phosphorus going into the lake by 36-percent over two decades. To get there, they are calling for changes including in how people farm their land, managing storm water, and improvements along rivers.

"My hope is that this plan is one more step along the pathway to getting to a clean Lake Champlain. We still have a lot of work to do. It is after all just going to be a plan. We actually have to implement it now," says Mears.

Conservationists had concerns. Those include details such as what will be done to force polluters, sometimes farms, to make changes.

"We think the days of primary reliance on voluntary action, education, and outreach are coming to a close and it's time to identity real programs and real standards that will be implemented in a fashion that will cleanup Lake Champlain," says Kilian.

The state could not put a price tag on the plan yet.

The EPA says it will review the plan for the next several weeks and state leaders are fairly confident it will be approved.
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