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Stormwater Runoff Prevention; Congress Fails To Pass Farm Bill

cow_closeup.jpg
AP/Steven Senne
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Dairy cows chew their feed at the Rhoman-Wai Farms in Chester.
Dairy cows chew their feed at the Rhoman-Wai Farms in Chester.

http://www.vpr.net/audio/programs/84/2012/10/vermont_edition_10022012.mp3

In the puzzle of restoring Lake Champlain's health, the reduction of phosphorous in stormwater runoff is an important piece. Now, the Agency of Natural Resources is preparing to launch a new initiative that focuses on building green infrastructure to prevent stormwater runoff. We talk with Environmental Conservation Commissioner David Mears about in a preview of the program announcement to be held on Wednesday.

Also, wither the farm bill. Every five years or so Congress reauthorizes the massive piece of legislation, which covers much more than farm subsidies and crop insurance. It also provides essential support to conservation programs and nutritional assistance like food stamps. But the current farm bill, valued at $288 billion, expired Sunday at midnight, and political stalemate stopped Congress from passing new legislation. We talk with Vermont Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross about what happens next for the programs encapsulated in the farm bill. As Senator Patrick Leahy's former legislative director, Ross also explains the political machinations behind the bill that so many people rely on.