Conservation Law Foundation’s dedicated Vermont office engages in effective advocacy and legal action to address the most critical environmental challenges facing the state and region. Four issues in particular: the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant, thermal efficiency, water quality, and the development of clean, renewable energy sources are current priorities for which the Lintilhac Foundation is proud to support CLF’s work.
Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant, owned and operated by Louisiana-based energy conglomerate Entergy, is over 30 years old and poorly maintained with a shameful record of accidents and leaks. It is not a safe and viable component to the state’s energy future and the plant is in fact a threat to public safety, evidenced most recently by a 2010 leak of radioactive tritium into groundwater and the Connecticut River. CLF is a leader in the fight to prevent Vermont Yankee’s re-authorization to operate in Vermont.
To reduce energy consumption and to alleviate Vermonters’ heating costs, CLF advocates for increased state investment in thermal efficiency through weatherization upgrades for Vermont homes. CLF, as part of the Thermal Energy Task Force, urges a $276 million investment by the state with a goal of improving the energy efficiency of 80,000 (about 25%) of Vermont’s homes by 2020. Every dollar of public funding will result in more than $6 of return.
The water quality of Vermont’s lakes and rivers is variable, to say the least. High phosphorous levels in Lake Champlain caused by runoff from farms, sewage treatment plants, and urban and suburban development create frequent toxic algae outbreaks that make the lake not just unpleasant but unsafe. CLF, through its Lake Champlain Lakekeeper Program and other initiatives, works for effective enforcement of the Clean Water Act. Actions include pressing for pollution controls on industrial dairy farms and fighting to require the state to adequately regulate sewage treatment plants and the total maximum daily load they are permitted.
Climate change is a crisis affecting not just Vermont of course but the world. The need for development of abundant sources of clean, renewable energy to supplant those that burn fossil fuels has never been more urgent. CLF has long supported efforts to develop wind energy in Vermont and is currently an active participant working against a proposed two-year moratorium on wind projects in the state now being considered by the Vermont Legislature.