Opinion: Farmers disproportionately blamed for lake pollution

After reading Monday’s article about Gov. Shumlin’s agenda for the next two year, I have concerns. Most of the article describes Shumlin’s plan to clean up the lake and prevent future runoff and pollution.
As a longstanding dairy farmer, I have seen how farmers are blamed for manure runoff that is contaminating the lake and watersheds. We have been under the microscope for many years, facing strict regulations and fines around water pollution. I find it ironic that in last week’s Addison Independent, on the front page, there was an article about how the city of Vergennes was given permission to dump 467,000 gallons of sewer waste into the Otter Creek thus flowing into Lake Champlain.
If our goal as Vermonters is to keep our water clean, then how can the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources justify purposefully dumping waste into the rivers and lakes?
I think we need to keep a keen and non-biased eye on who and what is really contributing to the pollution of our lakes and rivers and not just use the few remaining dairy farmers as the scapegoats for these infractions.
Edward Bessette
New Haven

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