The ECHO-Leahy Center on Lake Champlain is hosting a two day environmental summit. Scientists from across the region, and the country, are attending the meeting to find new ways to plan for clean water action. Wednesday's morning session featured comments from an official from the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
The conference “Blue Water in the Green Mountains” is bringing researchers, academics, business people, politicians and national experts to discuss environmental strategies for the waters of Lake Champlain and beyond its Basin.
The gathering is part of the tenth year commemoration of the opening of the ECHO Aquarium and Science Center and Leahy Center for Lake Champlain on the Burlington waterfront. Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy gave the opening address Wednesday morning, saying the summit will move water challenges forward everywhere, not just in this region.
ECHO Executive Director Phelan Fretz explained the summit’s goals.
The summit is drawing national attention. ECHO Summit organizers presented a recorded greeting from Robert Redford.
Summit attendees also heard from White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley. The Council, formed when President Nixon signed the authorizing legislation in 1970, helps the President develop environmental policy, set priorities and coordinate with federal agencies that have an impact on the environment, energy and natural resources. Sutley told the audience our sources of clean water remain at risk even though much progress has been made since the implementation of the Clean Water Act.
Sutley says the phosphorous problems Lake Champlain is experiencing is a common problem in waterways across the country due to urban and agricultural runoff.
The “Blue Water in the Green Mountains” summit continues Thursday featuring keynote speaker Robert Kennedy Jr., president of the Waterkeeper Alliance.