RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY 2013 DIOCESAN CONVENTION TO PROMOTE WATER QUALITY
RESOLVED, That the 181st Convention of the Diocese of Vermont endorse the January 8, 2013 Blue Resolution urging Vermont’s elected leaders and public officials to develop financial mechanisms for upgrading and maintaining Vermont’s sewage, stormwater, and drinking water infrastructures, in order to protect water quality for all, and be it further
RESOLVED, That the 181st Convention instruct the Convention Secretary to communicate that endorsement to Governor Peter Shumlin, Secretary of Natural Resources Deb Markowitz, Speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives Shap Smith, President Pro Tempore of the Vermont Senate John Campbell, and Mayor Miro Weinberger of Burlington, Vermont, and the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, and be it further
RESOLVED, That the 181st Convention thank Mr. James Ehlers, a fellow Christian, for initiating the work of the Blue Resolution Coalition, and be it further
RESOLVED, That the 181st Convention urge the Earth Stewards Committee of the Diocese and Earth Steward of St. Paul’s Cathedral to disseminate information regarding the Blue Resolution in order that members of the Diocese may understand the initiative and enable the process going forward.
Several environmental organizations including but not limited to Lake Champlain International, Conservation Law Foundation, Lake Champlain Committee, Audubon Vermont, Connecticut River Watershed Council, and Lewis Creek Association gathered late last year to find solutions to Vermont’s polluted waters. Their collective response was the Blue Resolution, which calls upon state and local officials to adopt equitably targeted fees and revenue mechanisms and to invest such revenues statewide into drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructures. Thirty-eight non-profits and businesses have signed the Blue Resolution (as of Sept. 9, 2013). The Episcopal Diocese of Vermont is here with urged to sign it as well. A copy of the text of the Blue Resolution is appended to this explanation.
The Blue Resolution recognizes that water is finite, that we all have a role in polluting and in caring for water, that we all need clean water for health and life, and that polluted water is not good for the economy. We all have a shared responsibility for creating and maintaining infrastructures to manage water quality for all life.
Clean water is a realm where social justice and environmental justice meet, and with which Vermont has struggled for years. Policies and funding mechanisms are currently lacking to maintain and rebuild our aging and damaged water infrastructures for the common good, and water quality is suffering. The solutions require long-term thinking, community-oriented spirit and resource-sharing found in the best of our biblical tradition: Joseph telling the Egyptians to save during years of plenty for 7 lean years; early Christians sharing their resources; Jesus’ care for those most marginalized. If water is a symbol of God’s care for us in our sacraments, what happens to the sacramental grace of water when it is contaminated or defiled by human activity?
The Episcopal Diocese of Vermont can be a voice for courageous, forward-looking policy to promote the common good.
Earth Stewards Committee and Sylvia Knight, Earth Steward at St. Paul’s Cathedral
BLUE RESOLUTION text
RESOLUTION URGING PUBLIC OFFICIALS AND ELECTED LEADERS
TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE VALUE OF CLEAN WATER TO VERMONT’S PUBLIC AND ECONOMIC HEALTH AND TO SUSTAINABLY INVEST IN THE SAME
WHEREAS, clean water is essential to Vermonters’ personal health and the health of our economy and Vermont’s environment; and
WHEREAS, clean water is critical to ensure healthy habitats vital to the protection and restoration of indigenous species and the protection of all flora and fauna throughout the food web; and
WHEREAS, significant progress to restore and protect our water resources has been made since the passage of the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act; and
WHEREAS, compromised and impaired waters still exist, and unimpaired waters remain largely unprotected, threatening our quality of life and our economy while public sector investment in protecting water quality continues to shrink, leaving forty years of environmental gains since the passage of the Clean Water Act hanging in the balance; and
WHEREAS, protecting the Vermont brand built on a reputation for protecting its unsurpassed environmental health from degradation is essential for the continued success of all business sectors relying on this crucial market distinction; and
WHEREAS, outdoor recreation, in particular water-based recreation, is a vital aspect of our state identity and a major pursuit among Vermonters and visitors, alike; and
WHEREAS, polluted waters are not accessible waters, do not support aquatic life, and, worse, imperil public health; and
WHEREAS, outdated treatment technologies, aging pipes and pumps, and inadequate capacity undermine our ability to treat sewage, stormwater, and drinking water; and
WHEREAS, in the opinion of leading professionals within numerous disciplines, infrastructure is inadequately funded in Vermont to meet current and future requirements; and
WHEREAS, new and sustained public investment for clean water at the federal, state, and municipal levels is critical to protect this basic element of public health and a vibrant, sustainable economy; and
WHEREAS, it is our legal and moral obligation, as well as an ethical imperative, to ensure that the same quality of life enjoyed by the current generation is possible for the next.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the undersigned concerned citizens and organizations urge that our state and local elected officials and policymakers:
1.Expeditiously adopt new, equitable, targeted fees and dedicated, broad-based revenue mechanisms; and
2.Sustainably invest these revenues statewide into water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure, and all other manner of water resources protection and water pollution remediation.
Approved and adopted the eighth day of January 2013.