Vermonters have a long tradition of environmental stewardship, and Senator Leahy takes great pride in the fact that Vermont has served as a model for many national conservation programs that he has sponsored in Congress, including the Farmland Protection Program and the Forest Legacy Program. The Vermont conservation ethic has benefited our health, economy, and landscape.
Senator Leahy has helped expand this ethic through his support for public lands and open spaces. He was instrumental in the creation of Vermont’s only national park, the Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historical Park and the establishment of the 26,000 acre Nulhegan unit of the Conte National Wildlife Refuge. Senator Leahy has also played a pivotal role in adding more than 400,000 acres to the Green Mountain National Forest, authorizing the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership, and cleaning up Lake Champlain.
In 1998, Senator Leahy joined Vermonters in celebrating the opening of Vermont's first national park – the Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historical Park – in Woodstock. This beautiful parcel of working forests and surrounding farmland is a tribute to historic leaders of the New England conservation movement. Marsh Billings Rockefeller is the first national park to interpret the evolution of conservation stewardship, including history, current practices, and future trends.
Despite Vermont's proud conservation legacy, we still face environmental threats on local, state, and national levels. In recent years, there have been a number of attempts by Congress and the Administration to roll back our environmental laws, such as the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Act. Senator Leahy continues to fight against these efforts to circumvent our nation's foundational environmental legislation. While Senator Leahy recognizes the need to make tough budget decisions, he supports spending restraint that will not jeopardize our health or environment.