Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Vermont Environmental News, January 25, 2010

New Vt. ag. chief eager to work on lake clean up | Boston.com
Vermont's new Agriculture Secretary says he's eager to work with the state's dairy farmers and environmentalists to improve water quality in Lake Champlain.

Farms are the source of about half of the phosphorous pollutants running into Lake Champlain and critics have long wanted the state to do more to enforce the federal Clean Water Act on farms.
Vt. organic farming group prepares for conference | Boston.com
The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont says it's expecting more than 1,500 organic farmers, gardeners and consumers at its winter conference.

The group's annual winter gathering takes place Feb. 12-14 at the University of Vermont in Burlington.

The conference features more than 70 workshops on a variety of topics, two keynote speakers, an intensive workshop for commercial growers, an exhibitors fair, a Saturday night social and networking opportunities.
EPA reverses approval of 2002 Lake Champlain cleanup plan | WCAX.COM
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is scrapping Vermont's plan to clean up Lake Champlain.

The agency now says the state's plan is flawed and doesn't meet federal requirements. That's a complete reversal from 2002, when the EPA approved the plan.

Vermont has spent upwards of $100 million trying to reduce phosphorus pollution. The Conservation Law Foundation sued the EPA in 2008, arguing little progress had been made and that phosphorus limits imposed by the EPA weren't stringent enough.
Media-Newswire.com | Ag Law and Policy Conference at VLS
Ten student groups at Vermont Law School will host a two-day agriculture law and policy conference Jan. 27-28 to explore the ways in which the world eats and ways to improve our systems for growing, transporting and consuming food. The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 8:45 a.m. Jan. 27 with the keynote address being given at 4:55 p.m. by Ellen Kahler, executive director of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund.
Burlington, Vt. moves to using LED streetlights | Boston.com
Vermont's largest municipal electric utility is installing LED -- that's light-emitting diode -- streetlights in a residential area for the first time, and saving 74 percent of the energy used by traditional streetlights.

The Burlington Electric Department already had been using LED streetlights in downtown commercial areas, but now will do so on Shore Road along Lake Champlain and neighboring streets.
Some Vt. gardens will be eligible for $1k grants | Boston.com
Up to 40 Vermont gardens will be able to use $1,000 mini-grants this spring to expand school community gardens in the state.

Friends of Burlington Gardens says the deadline for applying for the grants is March 15. The awards will be made by April 12.

The money for the program comes from a federal grant secured by the Vermont Community Foundation and Friends of Burlington Gardens.

The goal of the program is to establish a statewide, school-based gardening initiative that teaches Vermont children and youths how to grow fresh produce.