The Vermont Public Interest Research Group, Montpelier
- water conservation; legislative drafting; web database design; and green taxes
VH2O. Over a period of eight months, ARC completely refocused all of VPIRG’s earlier environmental work on water issues. This included: identifying Vermont’s water problems and proposing solutions; formulating a long-term, strategic plan for cleaning the waters of the state; and establishing a market presence for the “VH2O - Clean Waters for Vermont” campaign by designing a memorable logo and publishing a Vermont Citizens’ Guide to a Water Ethic. A “green tax” policy initiative was undertaken (green taxes penalize pollution and reward conservation). Legislation was drafted and passed which removed the sales tax exemption on the non-farm use of agrochemicals. The new revenue stream will be used to encourage organic farming and a statewide system of riparian buffers adjacent to agricultural lands. Finally, to raise the issue of the importance of clean drinking water, ARC designed a private well-testing program to be run by citizens and funded by VPIRG; the program will begin in several communities shortly.
Internet. ARC worked with media and GIS computer consultants to design an educational, interactive web page to run parallel with the VH2O Campaign. This will make the VPIRG website the reference location for citizens who want to check on the quality of their water, and on any current or future threats to it or to their watershed. The page includes: Internet mapping, watershed management information, and issue-specific spatial analysis.
White paper on green taxes. ARC edited and contributed to a paper for the W. Alton Jones Foundation on the success of three years of work on green tax measures by the Vermont Fair Tax Coalition.
Lake Champlain. ARC is in discussions with a private party about preparing a paper on the impacts of two stroke engines on the air and water quality of this important lake.