Last evening, the House of Representatives approved a bipartisan amendment authored by Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) that restores $4.4 million in fiscal year 2018 federal funding for the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP). The amendment, cosponsored by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), rejects the recommendations of President Trump and the House Appropriations Committee to eliminate funding for the program.
"Lake Champlain is the environmental crown jewel of our region," said Rep. Welch. "It is central to our cultural heritage and natural history, and an invaluable recreational and economic resource. My amendment will ensure that the Lake Champlain Basin Program continues its vital mission to protect and preserve this great lake for generations to come."
"The Lake Champlain Basin Program is critical to protecting this North Country treasure from invasive species and to protecting its biodiversity," said Rep. Stefanik. "In my lifetime, I have watched the detrimental effects that zebra mussels have had as they migrated into the waters of Lake Champlain. As Co-Chair of the Congressional Invasive Species Caucus, I was pleased to work on this amendment to ensure this program received the full funding necessary to protect Lake Champlain. I thank Congressman Welch for his leadership on this bipartisan effort."
The Lake Champlain Basin Program was created in 1990 by the Lake Champlain Special Designation Act, which was authored by Senator Patrick Leahy and the late Senator James Jeffords. It is a regional collaboration between Vermont, New York, and the Province of Quebec to restore and protect Lake Champlain and its surrounding watershed. LCBP provides technical resources and grants to private organizations, local communities, and individuals to support efforts that benefit Lake Champlain's water quality, fisheries, wetlands, wildlife, recreation, and cultural resources.
Welch's amendment was added to the fiscal year 2018 omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 3354) on a voice vote.