Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The FY 2012 Budget Request For The EPA

As Prepared For Delivery

Administrator Jackson, welcome. Since the passage of the Lake Champlain Designation Act 20 years ago, the EPA has been a strong partner in the cleanup of Lake Champlain.   Vermont and New York have valued that partnership.  We have worked with Republican and Democratic administrations alike to identify and address threats to the quality of Lake Champlain.

Everyone in the Champlain Basin wants to preserve and protect the Lake that is not only a natural wonder but also an integral part of our economy.  In that vein I thank you for your help in facilitating movement on the ECHO grant in Vermont.  It is my understanding that these funds could be released by the first week in April, which is essential to having these programs continue.

The agency’s interest in Lake Champlain is stronger than ever it seems, especially given your move earlier this year to require a new phosphorus TMDL plan, to be written by the EPA.  I know Vermont will be working closely with EPA on that issue.

While Vermont welcomes EPA’s participation we also want to see a commitment.  At a time when the EPA budget for other watersheds has grown significantly over the past few years, the budget requested for Lake Champlain has remained relatively flat.  In fact the FY12 budget request recommends a reduction from the level enacted in FY10.

I hope that Vermont and New York can work with you on identifying the resources we need to address the threats to Lake Champlain. I know that you and I were both disappointed when your response to the gulf oil spill required you to postpone a planned trip to Vermont last spring. I hope that you will allow me to host you for a visit to the Green Mountain State this coming spring or summer.

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