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Vermont Celebrates Clean Water Today, not Beer

As it is affecting so many others, the glut of environmental issues and international crises is taking its toll on my ability to rise to each new wave with renewed energy and determination.

There is one item on that agenda that is so absolutely essential to human survival that we must not set it aside even to attend to other problems.

That essential is clean water.  Without it, life, human or otherwise, will simply be over... in relatively short order.

It is an extremely finite resource, and twenty-first century humankind is rapidly exhausting the supply.

That's why, even with everything else I have to do, I plan to be in Montpelier tomorrow for Clean Water Day, sponsored by the Vermont Natural Resource Council (VNRC), Vermont Conservation Voters, CLF, the Sierra Club and the Lake Champlain Committee.  It runs from 9:30 AM - 12:PM in the Statehouse, and provides an opportunity for us to buttonhole our legislators and remind them how very important this single issue is to us.

Right here in Vermont, our main water concern at the moment is the critical condition of our beautiful Lake and how it impacts our recreation and tourism opportunities; but it is not inconceivable that we may one day find ourselves joining other places in the country that face clean water shortages of ever expanding magnitude.

Last week in his monologue, Bill Maher quipped that LA has only one more year's worth of water.  Sure enough, when I checked, there it was in the LA Times.  

The artificial Garden of Eden created in California by sucking-up life-giving moisture from as far away as Colorado as development exploded on its flanks, is now nearing its logical conclusion.  

Even if business interests and private citizens can somehow be kept to strict rationing, future "California dreaming" will be mostly about water.  

At least the sunshine state has, for some time now, been trying to turn things around before it really is too late. Aquifers are also shrinking at alarming rates in states like Texas and New Mexico, where any kind of regulation is met with suspicion and resistance.

Vermont, touted as the "most progressive" state of all, is still blessed with adequate water supplies, but we chafe at limits on development related to wetlands protections, grouse at "over regulation" of stormwater, and no sector that can afford to is willing to make the kind of investments required to ensure recovery of our lake.

We can't raise taxes on the uber-rich; we can't increase rents established seventy years ago for public lands leased to the ski industry; and we can't increase permit costs that might inhibit the expansion of impervious surfaces that act as highways for rapid delivery of pollutants to state waterways.

I'm going to Montpelier tomorrow to hear where the money is supposed to come from.  I have a feeling I won't like the answer.

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